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Notable 2012 Celestial Events
Notable 2012 Celestial Events

2012 Celestial Events!

Mark your calendars and organize star parties with friends and family to catch these noteworthy 2012 night sky events. In addition to key celestial events, we’ve also listed the First Quarter and New Moon phase dates for each month. The First Quarter Moon provides interesting views of the lunar terminator region and New Moon evenings are great opportunities to observe deep sky objects.

January

Kick off the New Year by watching the Quadrantids meteor shower peak on the 3rd and 4th, and enjoy great views of Jupiter all month long.

  • bulletJanuary 1 – First Quarter Moon
  • bulletJanuary 3 – Jupiter 5° South of the Moon
  • bulletJanuary 3, 4 – Quadrantids meteor shower peaks. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation Bootes.
  • bulletJanuary 23 – New Moon

February

Explore the Winter Milky Way and enjoy early evening views of Jupiter.

  • bulletJanuary 31 / February 1 – First Quarter Moon
  • bulletFebruary 21 – New Moon
  • bulletFebruary 25 – Venus 3° South of the Moon
  • bulletFebruary 27 – Jupiter 4° South of the Moon

March

Some of the best galaxies to view are spread across the sky from Ursa Major to Virgo during March.

  • bulletMarch 1 – First Quarter Moon
  • bulletMarch 3 – Mars at opposition. The best time to observe the Red Planet.
  • bulletMarch 5 – Mars closest to Earth
  • bulletMarch 11-14 – Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. The two planets will be as close as just 3° apart in the night sky.
  • bulletMarch 20 – Vernal Equinox
  • bulletMarch 22 – New Moon

April

Mid-April is the best time of year to see ringed Saturn as it comes to opposition. Good views of Mars and spring galaxies continue.

  • bulletApril 3 – Venus 0.5° South of Pleiades (M45). A great sight for binoculars and telescopes.
  • bulletApril 15 – Saturn at opposition. The best time to observe the ringed planet.
  • bulletApril 21 – New Moon
  • bulletApril 22 – Jupiter 2° South of the Moon
  • bulletApril 29 – First Quarter Moon

May

Saturn and distant galaxies are still featured in the evening sky throughout May.

  • bulletMay 6 – Largest Full Moon of 2012
  • bulletMay 20 – New Moon
  • bulletMay 20 – Annular Solar Eclipse. A partial eclipse will be visible throughout parts of eastern Asia and most of
                  North America.
  • bulletMay 21 – Venus 5° North of the Moon
  • bulletMay 28 – First Quarter Moon

June

Don’t miss the extremely rare transit of Venus across the Sun on June 6. Always use protective gear such as a solar filter when viewing the Sun. This is the last time in the 21st century that Venus will pass in front of the Sun as viewed from Earth.

  • bulletJune 4 – Partial Lunar Eclipse. Visible throughout most of North and South America, Asia, Australia, and the
                  Pacific Ocean.
  • bulletJune 5, 6 – Transit of Venus across the Sun. Mid-transit will occur at 1:29 UTC on June 6. Visible from most
                  North America locations around sunset on June 5. CAUTION: Never look at the Sun, either directly or through
                  binoculars or a telescope, without a suitable protective solar filter used in a proper manner.
  • bulletJune 18 – Venus 2° South of the Moon
  • bulletJune 19 – New Moon
  • bulletJune 20 – Summer Solstice
  • bulletJune 27 – First Quarter Moon

July

Summer stargazing season is in full swing this month, with the galactic core of the Milky Way positioned well for nighttime observations in mid-July.

  • bulletJuly 12 – Venus greatest illuminated extent. Venus will appear as a very bright waxing crescent.
  • bulletJuly 15 – Jupiter 0.5° South of the Moon. Venus 4° South of the Moon.
  • bulletJuly 19 – New Moon
  • bulletJuly 24 – Mars 4° North of the Moon
  • bulletJuly 26 – First Quarter Moon

August

Catch one of the best meteor showers of the year, the Perseids, as it peaks in mid-August, and enjoy warm summer stargazing sessions all month long.

  • bulletAugust 1 – An ideal evening to view the summer Milky Way and Sagittarius due South
  • bulletAugust 12, 13 – Perseids meteor shower peaks. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation Perseus.
  • bulletAugust 17 – New Moon
  • bulletAugust 22 – Saturn 5° North of the Moon. Mars 2° North of the Moon
  • bulletAugust 24 – First Quarter Moon

September

Seasoned stargazers look forward to September as the best time of year to observe the night sky, thanks to cooling temperatures and dry conditions. Kick off the fall stargazing season with great views of the planets, galaxies such as Andromeda (M31) and more.

  • bulletSeptember 8 – Jupiter 0.6° North of the Moon
  • bulletSeptember 12 – Venus 4° North of the Moon
  • bulletSeptember 16 – New Moon
  • bulletSeptember 18 – Saturn 5° North of the Moon
  • bulletSeptember 22 –Autumnal Equinox. First Quarter Moon.

October

Cooler nights and great planetary viewing potential makes October a treat for astronomers.

  • bulletOctober 5 – Jupiter 0.9° North of the Moon, occultation
  • bulletOctober 15 – New Moon
  • bulletOctober 18 – Mars 2° South of the Moon
  • bulletOctober 22 – First Quarter Moon

November

Our namesake constellation, Orion, makes its way across the sky as planets dance close to the Moon throughout the month.

  • bulletNovember 2 – Jupiter 0.9° North of the Moon
  • bulletNovember 11 – Venus 5° North of the Moon
  • bulletNovember 12 – Saturn 4° North of the Moon
  • bulletNovember 13 – New Moon
  • bulletNovember 14 – Total Solar Eclipse (not visible from North America)
  • bulletNovember 16 – Mars 4° South of the Moon
  • bulletNovember 20 – First Quarter Moon
  • bulletNovember 27 – Venus 0.6° South of Saturn
  • bulletNovember 29 – Jupiter 0.6° North of the Moon

December

A great month for viewing gigantic Jupiter, December also provides great opportunities to observe galaxies and clusters.

  • bulletDecember 3 – Jupiter at opposition. The best time to observe the gas giant planet.
  • bulletDecember 10 – Saturn 4° North of the Moon
  • bulletDecember 11 – Venus 1.6° North of the Moon
  • bulletDecember 13 – New Moon
  • bulletDecember 13, 14 – Geminids meteor shower peaks. Look for meteors radiating from the constellation Gemini.
  • bulletDecember 20 – First Quarter Moon
  • bulletDecember 21 – Winter Solstice
  • bulletDecember 26 – Jupiter 0.4° North of the Moon
Details
Date Taken: 12/30/2011
Author: Orion Staff
Category: Astronomy

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