As we are about to step into the new year, here’s good news for all the sky gazers as 2021 has a lot to offer with a variety of celestial events. The celestial calendar of the upcoming year consists of eclipses, meteor showers, occultations, super moon, and many more.
There will be a total of four eclipses, including one total solar eclipse and one total lunar eclipse, in 2021. Ujjain-based Jiwaji Observatory’s superintendent Dr. Rajendraprakash Gupt said that two of the eclipses will be visible from India.
The phenomenon of lunar eclipses takes place when the Earth’s shadow blocks the light of the sun, which usually reflects off the moon. There are three types of eclipse such as total, partial, and penumbral. Out of these three, a total lunar eclipse is one of the most dramatic ones where the Earth comes between the sun and the moon.
In an interview with PTI, Dr. Gupt said that the first total lunar eclipse will occur on May 26 and it will be visible from parts of West Bengal, coastal Odisha, and in the north-eastern states, except Sikkim. This lunar eclipse will also be visible in South Asia, East Asia, Australia, much of North America, South America, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Antarctica.
“The earth will cover the moon by 101.6 percent during this astronomical event,” Dr. Gupt told PTI. In India, the lunar eclipse would begin at 2:17 pm and end at 7:19 pm, according to Timeanddate.com.
The second lunar eclipse of 2021, which would be a partial one, will take place on November 19. It will be visible in much of Asia, Australia, much of Europe, South America, North America, North Africa, West Africa, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and the Arctic. Apart from these places, the celestial event can also be seen from Arunachal Pradesh and some parts of Assam for a very short period.
Dr. Gupt said: “At the peak of this event, 97.9 percent of the moon will be seen covered by the earth’s shadow.” In India, the eclipse would start at 11:32 am and end at 6:33 pm.
The sky lovers can enjoy the sight of the first annular solar eclipse of the upcoming new year on June 10. This solar eclipse can be witnessed from much of Europe, much of Asia, North Africa, West Africa, much of North America, the Atlantic, and the Arctic. However, it won’t be visible from India. According to Dr. Gupt, the viewers may get to see the ‘Ring of fire’ effect during this solar eclipse as the moon will come between the sun and the earth, covering 94.3 percent of the sun.
The second and the last solar eclipse of 2021 will take place on December 4. Experts claim that this will be a total solar eclipse. Though this phenomenon won’t be visible from India, it would be visible in South America, South Australia, South Africa, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and Antarctica.
Quadrantid meteor shower
While the whole world is gearing up to welcome the new year with great positivity and enthusiasm, the stargazers can prepare themselves to witness the first major meteor shower of 2021 – the Quadrantids.
The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak in visibility on the night of January 3 and the early morning hours of January 4. It is always advised that the sky gazers must try to look to the skies shortly after midnight to have the best glimpse of the shower. Reports state that this can be one of the strongest showers of the year where you may see an average of 25 meteors per hour during the Quadrantids provided the weather conditions are good.
Perseid meteor shower
After the Quadrantid meteor shower, here comes the Perseid meteor shower that will peak on the night between August 12 and 13 in 2021. Every year, they usually take place between July and August and tend to peak around mid-August and the upcoming year is not an exception. During the meteor shower, the viewers may expect to see around 50 to 75 meteors per hour on the peak night.