By Stephanie Racine, Staff Writer
Look, up in the sky—it’s a bird, it’s a plane it’s … something you might never see again!
And it’s coming this year to a night sky near you.
Michelle Nichols, Director of Public Observing at the Adler Planetarium, offered some insight on what astronomical events to be on the lookout for in 2019. Here are the astronomical events that have significant importance to earthlings.
· Dec. 31–January: New Horizons Spacecraft flyby of Ultima Thule, a Kuiper Belt object. Pictures will be visible from NASA.
· Jan. 3: China’s Chang’e 4 lander/rover lands on the far side of the moon to study its surface and subsurface.
· Jan. 3–4: Quadrantid Meteor Shower, visible without moonlight interference. Head to a dark place to view.
· Jan. 17: SpaceX uncrewed test of its future commercial crewed Dragon spacecraft.
· Jan. 20: Lunar eclipse, visible from 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m.
· Jan. 20–26: Venus and Jupiter are close together and visible. Observable right before sunrise in the east. Jupiter is slightly less dim.
· Feb. 17–19: Venus and Saturn are close together and visible. Observable right before sunrise in the east. Saturn is slightly less dim.
· March: Boeing uncrewed test for the future crewed Starliner spacecraft.
· May 6–7: Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, visible with little moon interference. Head to a dark place to view.
· June: SpaceX crewed test of Dragon spacecraft.
· August: Boeing crewed test flight of Starliner spacecraft.
· Aug. 12–13: Perseid Meteor Shower, the light from the moon will interfere, but could still be visible in a dark place.
· Nov. 11: Transit of Mercury between the earth and the sun. For safe viewing, head to the Adler to view on telescopes with sun filters.
· Dec. 13–14: Geminid Meteor Shower, the light from the moon will interfere, but could still be visible in a dark place.
· Throughout 2019: Parker Solar Probe will pass the sun a couple times and send information back to Earth about the sun’s atmosphere.
· Throughout 2019: Juno Spacecraft orbits around Jupiter and sends information back to Earth.
For more information about these or other astronomical events, visit the Adler Planetarium at 1300 Lake Shore Drive or their website, www.adlerplanetarium.org.