This New Year 2021 will bring a partial lunar eclipse that will be visible in Mexico, Central America and part of South America, as well as a total solar eclipse, and the traditional meteor showers. In addition to three supermoons, other dates to highlight have to do with space exploration, with the launching of missions and the arrival of some probes at their destination.
The following is a calendar of the most important astronomical events of 2021, with an explanation of where they will be visible from:
In 2021, only one of the four eclipses that will take place will be seen in Latin America. The other three will be seen on a limited basis in the region.
May 26th: total lunar eclipse: On this date, the natural satellite of the Earth will pass entirely through the shadow (umbra) of the planet. As this happens, the Moon gradually darkens until it takes on a reddish appearance. And this year to coincide with the phenomenon of the “supermoon”, which makes the satellite look bigger and brighter due to its proximity to Earth, the eclipse is expected to be more attractive. It can be fully appreciated in countries of the Pacific and East Asia, Australia, and western North America. In a limited way in Mexico, Chile, and Argentina.
June 10th annular eclipse of the Sun:
When the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun on this date, an eclipse will take place. The result will be a ring of sunlight. This show will be visible in its entirety in Canada, Russia and the Arctic Ocean. And partially in the northeastern United States and Europe.
November 19th partial lunar eclipse:
Eclipses like this occur when the Moon partially passes through the Earth’s shadow (penumbra) and only part of the satellite passes through the darkest shadow (umbra). It will be visible in Mexico, Central America and the most northwestern part of South America, in certain parts of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Also in the US, Canada and eastern Russia.
December 4th total eclipse of the Sun:
Although it is the most anticipated spectacle of its kind, since the Moon totally blocks the Sun’s light and generates darkness, it will be an eclipse visible only in some remote areas, among others, from Antarctica, the South Atlantic and part of the southern tip of Africa.
As every year, when the Earth’s orbit passes close to the remnants of ice, dust and particles that comets lose after their last approach to the Sun, the phenomenon is known as “meteor shower” will take place. In reality, it consists of the passage of meteors through the atmosphere. When burned, they produce the well-known visual effect, lines of light that cross the sky. If they survive and reach the ground, the rocks are called meteorites. These rains can be seen almost anywhere in the world, from places with little artificial lighting and a wide range of the horizon.
The days to appreciate the different meteor showers, which are named after the constellations in which they are generated, will be the following:
January 3: quadrantids.
April 22: lyrical.
May 4: eta aquarids.
July 27: delta aquarids.
August 12: Perseids.
October 7: Draconids.
October 21: Orionids.
November 5: Southern Taurids
November 12: Northern Taurids
November 17: Leonidas.
November 19: Geminids.
December 22: Ursids.
“Supermoons”: A “supermoon” occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full. The effect of a larger Moon is created and even brighter than in the rest of its cycle. In the new year there will be three “supermoons”, which usually acquire curious names for their color or reason:
April 8: “Pink” supermoon.
May 26: supermoon of the “Flowers”.
June 24: “Strawberry” supermoon.
Space exploration: 2021 will also be a milestone year in space exploration, as some missions will reach their goal, while others will be launched.
If everything runs its course, these are the scheduled dates:
February 18: NASA’s Perseverance probe arrives at the Jezero crater on Mars.
February (day to be determined): arrival of China’s Tianwen-1 probe to the Utopia Planitia plain of Mars.
July 22: NASA launches the DART mission to the asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos, with the aim of deflecting them, something that has never been done.
October 16: NASA launches the Lucy mission to explore seven Trojan asteroids that float in the orbit of Jupiter and are primal material from other planets, in an attempt to decipher the formation of the Solar System.
October 31: The European Space Agency, NASA and their Canadian counterpart will launch the James Webb telescope, the most advanced space observatory that will replace the historic Hubble telescope.