DR. SKY BLOG

Here are the sky events for Arizonans to plan for in 2019

Dec 19, 2018, 2:00 PM
(Flickr/Oleksii Leonov)...
(Flickr/Oleksii Leonov)
(Flickr/Oleksii Leonov)

It is hard to believe that the earth has made another trek around the sun.

2018 will go down as one of the most amazing years for not only astronomical events, but for rocket launches too!

As we close out 2018, what can we expect for 2019? Arizona sky watchers have some really exciting events to look forward to.

January begins with a most amazing total eclipse of the moon.

Get set for another unique alignment of the sun, earth and moon. This one will take place on the evening of Jan. 20. With hopefully clear skies, we get to view this event during the late evening hours.

Get set for the moon to enter the edge of the earth’s shadow on the left side, beginning at 8:34 p.m. local time.

Get out those binoculars and telescopes and cameras, as the show will now be underway!

The moon will then move into the deep shadow of the earth at 9:41 p.m. local time.

For the next 62 minutes, the moon will linger in this shadow and look like a majestic orange or red lantern in the sky.

Totality will end at 10:43 p.m. and the moon will cycle in reverse as it moves out of the shadow of earth.

It all ends to the naked eye, by 11:51 p.m.

Meteor showers

The year begins with a great display of the Quadrantids on the morning of Jan. 4.

Look to the northeast sky just before dawn and, under dark skies, you may see a lot of fast moving meteors.

The classic Perseids will be limited in August by a bright moon in the sky.

The October Orionids, as well as the November Leonids and December Geminids, will have moonlight to help lower the meteor count.

Planets

Mercury: The innermost planet will make for some good viewing in both the morning and evening sky, during the eastern and western elongation times. That is when the planet is some 23 degrees from the sun in the morning or evening sky.

One of the best will occur on Aug. 9 in the pre-dawn skies and in the evening sky on June 23.

Mercury will transit the sun on Nov. 11. and be visible in a solar protected telescope at best around 8:20 a.m.

Venus: Venus begins 2019, as a very bright planet, high in the southeast sky at dawn. Venus will pass close to Saturn on the morning of Feb. 18, just before dawn.

Mars: Mars will remain faint in 2019 and begin another really close encounter with earth in October 2020.

Jupiter: Jupiter will put on a really good show in the late evening sky in June. Jupiter will return to opposition on June 10, visible all night, low in the southeast sky and in the southern sky during the pre-heat of summer.

Saturn: Saturn begins 2019 as a morning planet and will be close to Venus in February, only to move on to opposition (rising at sunset) and in the sky all night on July 9, low in the southeast sky at sunset.

If you are wondering about the next great total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be: April 8, 2024! That is when we get to see another repeat of the solar eclipse from Aug. 21, 2017.

The 2024 event will be a big one for observers who wish to plan on being in the shadow of the moon. That eclipse will be total for those in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

Start planning now! 2019 will be an exciting year in the sky. Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

To print your own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday morning at 3 a.m.

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Here are the sky events for Arizonans to plan for in 2019