Calendar of Cosmic Events: 2020-2021
Check out the dates and times for astronomical events like equinoxes, solstices, meteor showers, eclipses, supermoons, and more.
A New Moon in the sky means no moonlight to hinder your view of stars and planets. Use the Interactive Night Sky Map to find out what planets are visible tonight and where.
Also known as the autumnal (fall) equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, the September Equinox is considered by many as the first day of fall.
October 2020's Hunter/ Harvest Moon is also a Micro Full Moon—it occurs when the Moon is closest to its apogee.
The best time to see the shooting stars of the peaking Draconids is just before nightfall.
The Orionids are the second meteor shower in October. The shower peaks on October 21-22 but usually remains active between October 2 and November 7. The best time to see these shooting stars is just after midnight and before the Sun rises.
This Blue Moon is also a Micro Full Moon.
This New Moon takes place very close to its perigee—the point on its orbit closest to the Earth.
The Leonids' shooting stars are visible between November 6 and 30, and peak on the night of November 17 and early morning of November 18, 2020 with up to 15 meteors per hour.
November's Full Moon is called a Beaver Moon, after beavers that build their dams during this time of the year.
One of the best meteor showers of the year, the Geminids peak on the night of December 13 and early morning hours of December 14, 2020, but will be visible from December 4-16.
The December solstice will take place at 10:02 UTC. Also known as the winter solstice, it is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the longest day of the year and is called the summer solstice.
Catch the shooting stars of the last major meteor shower of the year, the Ursids, when it peaks between the night of December 21 and 22, 2020.
The year's final Full Moon in December is called a Cold Moon because of low temperatures in most locations in the Northern Hemisphere.
Astronomical Events in 2021
At 13:50 UTC, the Earth will reach its perihelion—the point on its orbit that is closest to the Sun.
The first major meteor shower of 2021, the Quadrantids, peaks on the night of January 3 and early morning hours of January 4.
The Moon will come between the Sun and the Earth, and the illuminated side of the Moon will face away from the Earth. A New Moon is almost impossible to see, even with a telescope.
The first Full Moon of the year is colloquially known as Wolf Moon in many northern cultures. A Full Moon occurs when the Sun and the Moon are on opposite sides of the Earth.
Take advantage of the New Moon to check out the night sky, weather permitting, of course.
February's Full Moon is also known as Snow Moon in many Northern Hemisphere cultures.
Dark nights a few days before and after the Moon reaches its New Moon phase at 10:21 UTC on March 13 are the best nights to do some night sky watching.
March 2021's Super Full Moon is also the Worm Moon, named after earthworms that tend to appear around in this time in many locations in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Lyrid meteor shower is expected to peak around April 22 and 23, depending on your location.
The Full Moon in April is sometimes known as the Pink Moon because of phlox, a pink flower, that blooms around this time in the North.
Use our handy Interactive Meteor Shower Sky Map to increase your chances of seeing shooting stars from the Eta Aquarids.
This year's Full Moon in May, also known as the Flower Moon after all the flowers that bloom around this time in the Northern Hemisphere, is a Super Moon. It may look bigger and brighter compared to other Full Moons.
Tonight's a good time to do some star and planet gazing! A New Moon means dark skies and plenty of opportunities to look for planets and stars.
People in northern Canada, parts of Greenland, and northeastern parts of Russia will be treated to the “ring of fire” that annular solar eclipses are famous for as the New Moon covers only the center of the Sun.
This solstice is the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the longest day of the year.
In the Southern Hemisphere, it's the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year.
Make the most of a moonlight-free night to look for some stars and planets in the skies.
July's Full Moon is also known as Thunder Moon, Hay Moon, and Wort Moon.
Take advantage of a moonlight-free sky and look up for some stars and planets.
The Perseid meteor shower is known to be one the most active and brightest meteor showers of the year. They are usually active between July 17 and August 24.
August's Full Moon, also known as the Sturgeon Moon, is a Blue Moon. Will it be blue? Very likely, no. It is, however, be the third Full Moon in a season of four Full Moons.