When to Look up to the Stars in 2018

Stargazing and space exploration enthusiasts have a lot to look forward to in 2018. The exciting events taking place in our solar system begin in January. Unique lunar displays, meteor showers, and international journeys into space make for an exciting new year.
Blue, Blood, Supermoon
The complex names describe a number of events occurring on January 31. First of all, we will witness the second full moon for the month, which is referred to as the Blue Moon. The event happens approximately once every 30 months. The moon will also venture 50,000 kilometers closer than usual. The path makes the “perigee-syzygy” or Supermoon appear 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than usual. The Blood Moon is so named due to the lunar eclipse that occurs when the moon passes into the shadow of the Earth. Although the moon is fully shadowed, light from the sun refracts toward the celestial body creating a blood red color.

March Moon Exploration
During the month or March, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, lander, and rover take a trip to the moon. The Chandrayaan mission is one of the many that countries have scheduled throughout 2018. The craft will be equipped with a variety of instrumentation designed to map and study the moon’s contents, which include minerals and water content. The country is excited as this will be the first lunar landing for India. They plan on making the journey to the planet’s south pole.

Perseids Meteor Shower
From August 11 through August 13, the skies come to life with streaks of meteors sailing through the northern hemisphere. The popular event takes place when our planet collides with the tail of the 109P/Swift-Tuttle comet. The size of debris pieces scattered varies. Larger pieces create the spectacular fireballs that thrill observers. There will be a new moon during the three days, which heightens visibility. The show entails approximately 100 meteors per hour.

Geminids Meteor Shower
From December 13 through December 15, the sky once again puts on a show as the Earth impacts with debris from the tail of the 32 Phaethon asteroid. However, optimal visibility will not occur until after midnight due to there being the first quarter of the moon. At that time, there will be an estimated 120 meteors per hour flashing through the atmosphere.