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Meteor Showers and More: Seven Celestial Events Still Coming Up in 2012

September 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM | by | ()

Last week's Blue Moon, which coincided with the burial of Neil Armstrong

It's getting crazy in Cairns. Even though the total solar eclipse is still over two months away, our Aussie embed assures us that hotel rooms are booking up and excitement is growing for the celestial event best visible from this Aussie city.

As we had actually considered heading down under for it, we were a tad dismayed. But wait! There's still plenty other astronomic occurrences to travel for yet this year and here's several:*

September 29: Uranus at Opposition. The blue-green planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. You'll need a telescope for this one, or give your local observatory a call and see if they'll be hosting an event.

October 20-21: Orionids Meteor Shower. Wake up super early or stay up really late between Oct 20-24, head outside with a thermos full of good stuff and look up into the night sky for what will hopefully be 20 meteors and hour. Get outside the city and suburbs, beyond light pollution, to take in the show.

November 13: Total Solar Eclipse. Full details on this are here, and, though Cairns is without a doubt the hotspot, Eastern Australia and some of New Zealand will at least enjoy a partial eclipse.

November 17-18: Leonids Meteor Shower. If you thought the Orionids were cool, the Leonids will blow your socks off with their 40 meteors an hour. Again, a dark location is important, as you'll have to find the Leo constellation first to pinpoint the sky location for the meteor shower. Having traveled to see the Leonids before, we can say that yeah, they're awesome.

November 28: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of Europe, eastern Africa, Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and North America. So...everybody party!

December 3: Jupiter at Opposition. The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. Again, a telescope is recommended if you'd like to do more than point at a vague point in the sky.

December 13-14: Geminids Meteor Shower. Getting even better than the Leonids, the Geminids streak by with up to 60 meteors an hour. If you can stand the December cold under a dark sky, locate the Gemini constellation to watch the show after midnight.

*[Source: seasky.org]

[Photo: Joe Corrigan]

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