You may have been too busy watching the ball drop to notice the supermoon in the sky. It’s alright- there are plenty of chances in 2018 for you to catch some kind of astrological phenomenon in the sky.
Mark your calendar in 2018 for: two supermoons, two blue moons, five planets at opposition, three meteor showers that could produce more than 100 falling stars an hour, and at least one comet all occur in the year ahead, guaranteeing that you’ll have something up above to get excited about each month this year.
The first day of 2018 brought the second of three super moons and the brightest moon of 2018. The month closes out with a final supermoon. This is also the first time a lunar eclipse has occurred on the same day as lunar perigee- the point during orbit in which the moon is closest to Earth- and with the second full moon in a calendar month, a “blue moon”, in 150 years.
February will have no full moon at all, a circumstance sometimes referred to as a black moon. March will also have two full moons, one on March 1 or 2- depending on your locations- and one on March 31. Therefore, March 31 will have the second blue moon of the year. This phenomenon of two full moons in January and March with a black moon in February occurs every 20 years.
Meteor showers are regular annual events that take place as Earth plows into debris left behind by comets and asteroids that have crossed our orbit. The strongest meteor showers of the coming year are the Quadrantids on January 3-4, the Perseids on August 11-12, and the Geminids on December 13-14. Each of these showers has been known to produce up to 100 meteors or more an hour at their peak of activity.
The real star of the show, according to Space.com, is the lunar eclipse on January 31. The East Coast will catch a glimpse of the beginning of the eclipse, as the moon starts to pass through the Earth’s shadow. The eclipse will start at 5:51 a.m. and will not be a full eclipse when the moon sets just after 7 a.m.
Unfortunately, for those of us in the U.S. the January eclipse is the only lunar eclipse we will be able to see in 2018. So, don’t miss it!