Looking at the stars on a blanket under the night sky is always a good idea, but it is even better if you are witnessing a phenomenon like an eclipse. But some of the most incredible and rare celestial events of 2020 are not visible from home. Don’t miss lunar and solar eclipses, bright planets that light up the sky, and of course meteor showers that are perfect for wishing for a shooting star (even if it’s not technically a star).
10. January – Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
A penumbral lunar eclipse is a lunar eclipse when the moon passes through the Earth’s shadow and darkens the moon (although not completely). The phenomenon will be visible in Europe, Africa, most parts of Asia and Australia. Since it is somewhat cool in the northern hemisphere, you should move to warmer climates. Africa offers a whole range of possibilities, and there is perhaps no better way to start the year than to lie on the beach in Cape Town, South Africa, and look at the stars.
February 10th – Mercury at its longest point, East
At this point, Mercury is far enough away from the Sun to avoid glare that makes it visible to the naked eye, but don’t be fooled, it is still not so easy to see. At dusk, it will be low on the horizon and most easily seen in places like Cherry Springs State Park in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, where light pollution is minimal. Just remember to bundle up.
March 24 – Venus at its longest extension, east
Venus at its longest extension in the east means that it is perfect for viewing in the evening sky. In the southern hemisphere it will not be as bright, so head north to an established stargazing site in Scotland. Galloway Forest Park is one of the best places to observe the stars in Scotland, but be sure to bring binoculars. They may not be easy to find with the naked eye.
22 April, 23 April – Meteor showers
The Lyrids meteor shower is best seen in the northern hemisphere between 9 and 10 pm local time. The open sky and cosmic vibrations of the rocks in Sedona, Arizona, are a perfect place to lay out a blanket and watch the shower. Of course, you must explore the Grand Canyon while you are there.
6 May, 7-Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
This is one of the better observable meteorite showers, but unfortunately this year an almost full moon can make the detection of meteorites a bit more difficult. However, the southern hemisphere should be better. If you enjoy the heat, you should travel to Bali to find unspoiled beaches and first class stargazing spots.
21. June – Annular Solar Eclipse
Even if it is not a complete solar eclipse, the moon will cover most of the sun and form a ring of light that could be considered even more beautiful. This solar eclipse will be visible only in a few places, including Saudi Arabia. Last year Saudi Arabia took measures to welcome tourists, so this is a good year to try. Visit the Saudi Arabian version of Petra and then find a place where you can watch the eclipse (but be careful not to stare directly at the sun).
12. August, 13. August – meteor showers
It is considered to be the best meteor shower you can see, but due to a bright moon there might be a small problem in observing the meteors. Escape the summer heat in Germany, where the Biosphere Reserve Rhön is known for its beautiful landscape and dark sky, perfect for observing the stars.
12. December 14. December – Meteor Shower
Escaping the winter for warmer weather is one of the main activities of New Yorkers. Do it like New Yorkers do and head to Florida, where a dark sky in Dry Tortugas National Park in the Gulf of Mexico offers you an amazing view of the twins. Fortunately, this is one of the few strong meteor showers not affected by a bright moon this year, so this should be one of the best in 2020.
14. December – Total solar eclipse
The event everyone is waiting for comes at the end of the year with a total solar eclipse. The full view will only be visible from the south of Chile and Argentina, so a trip to Patagonia is the obvious choice. The actual solar eclipse will be seen in Temuco and Villarrica in Chile. So start there and drive