For those who enjoy astronomy, we have prepared a calendar with the main events that will take place this year – some of them cannot be seen from Earth but, accompanied by channels from space agencies, such as the American NASA and the Japanese JAXA. Check out:
Astronomical Events in 2021
Days 2-3. At dawn, the Quadrantids appear, a meteor shower that occurs between the 1st and 5th of January. It is the shortest and most intense show on the annual astronomical calendar: it lasts just six hours, with up to 40 shooting stars per hour. Its origin is the asteroid EH1 2003. It seems to radiate from the region between the constellations Ursa Major and Boieiro.
Day 9. The UAE Space Agency’s orbiter Hope must finally reach Mars.
Day 11. This is the first day of the time window (11-24 this month) for the arrival of the Chinese mission Tianwen-1 to Mars: an orbiter, a landing module and a rover – the last two are expected to touch Martian soil in April.
Day 18. NASA’s Mars mission’s Perseverance rover is expected to land on Mars, carrying the Ingenuity helicopter aboard (the rover was equipped with a series of cameras to record the descent).
No date. With its mission to Bennu completed, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is expected to begin its two-year voyage back to Earth, bringing in samples from the asteroid’s surface.
Days 22-23. The Lirid meteor shower has a constant presence in the three days it appears in the sky. It appears to originate in the Lyre Constellation (actually, it is made up of pieces of Comet Thatcher).
Days 26-27. This dawn is the first of the three supermoons of the year: our satellite will be closer to Earth and therefore will look a little bigger (up to 14%) and brighter (30%) than normal.
Days 6-7. The nightly show is the Eta Aquaridas meteor shower, with up to 60 meteors per hour. It is made up of the remains of Comet Halley, and luckily for us, the southern hemisphere is the best place to enjoy it.
Day 26. The total lunar eclipse that takes place tonight will have an added bonus: Earth will cast its shadow onto a Supermoon (when the satellite appears bigger and brighter), producing a Blood Moon (rust red). The eclipse will be visible across the Pacific Ocean and parts of Asia, Japan, Australia and the three Americas.
10th day. The Sun’s ring eclipse, which occurs when the Moon is too far from Earth to completely cover the star, revealing a ring of light. To see the phenomenon, you’ll need to be in far eastern Russia, the Arctic Ocean, western Greenland, or Canada (anyone in the northeastern US, Europe, and even most of Russia will see a partial eclipse).
Day 24. The last of the three Supermoons of the year will ascend into the sky.
Days 28-29. The current meteor shower is the Aquarid Delta, streaking the night sky an average of 20 times an hour. The meteors, remnants of the Marsden and Kracht comets, fall here between the 12th of July and the 23rd of August, appearing to come from the constellation of Aquarius.
Days 12-13. They reach the terrestrial skies of the Perseids, the most popular of meteor showers, sending the Earth up to 60 bright fireballs every hour, at their peak. The remains of Comet Swift-Tuttle arrive here annually between the 17th of July and the 24th of August, appearing to radiate from the constellation Perseus.
Day 7. The Draconids drop their ten meteors hourly between the 6th and 10th of this month. This meteor shower originated from comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner and not from the constellation Dragon, which gives it its name.
Day 21-22. The Orionids, originating from Comet Halley, produce 20 meteors per hour at their peak (they visit Earth between October 2nd and November 7th). They radiate from the constellation of Orion.
Days 4-5. Taurid meteor shower. Although it lasts a long time, it produces between five and ten meteors an hour – remnants of asteroid TG10 2004 and comet 2P Encke. They radiate from the constellation of Taurus.
Days 17-18. The Leonids are a meteor shower with up to 15 meteors per hour – but every 33 years, it dumps hundreds of meteors on the Earth every hour (the last time was in 2001). Produced from the debris of Comet Tempel-Tuttle, it seems to radiate from the constellation Leo.
19th day. The night will be a partial lunar eclipse, visible over most of eastern Russia, Japan, the Pacific Ocean, North America, Mexico, Central America and parts of western South America.
Day 4. A solar eclipse will make the star disappear entirely in the skies over Antarctica and south of the Atlantic Ocean, and partially in much of South Africa.
Days 13-14. The Gemini meteor shower (radiating from the constellation Gemini) is considered the best of all, with up to 120 shooting stars per hour at its peak. The wreckage of asteroid 3200 Phaetho hits Earth between December 7th and 17th.
Days 21-22. Around Christmas, the Ursidians arrive, the remains of comet Tuttle that produce a small meteor shower (five to ten per hour). They seem to radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor and reach Earth between the 17th and 25th of December.