The History of Astronomy

  • 2016 BCE

    Astronomy Calendar

    Astronomy Calendar
    How the astronomy dates are ordered
  • Quadrantids Meteor Shower

    Quadrantids Meteor Shower
    The Quadrantids is an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. It is thought to be produced by dust grains left behind by an extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, which was discovered in 2003. The shower runs annually from January 1-5. It peaks this year on the night of the 3rd and morning of the 4th. The second quarter moon will block out all but the brightest meteors this year, but it could still be a good show if you are patient.
  • New Moon

    New Moon
    New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 01:30 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • Full Moon

    Full Moon
    Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 01:46 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps. This moon has also been know as the Old Moon and the Moon After Yule.
  • Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation.

    Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation.
    Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 25.6 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.
  • Full Moon.

    Full Moon.
    The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 18:20 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Snow Moon because the heaviest snows usually fell during this time of the year. Since hunting is difficult, this moon has also been known by some tribes as the Full Hunger Moon, since the harsh weather made hunting difficult.
  • Jupiter at Opposition

    Jupiter at Opposition
    The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter's cloud bands. A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter's four largest moons, appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.
  • New Moon

    New Moon
    The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 01:54 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
  • Total Solar Eclipse.

    Total Solar Eclipse.
    A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely blocks the Sun, revealing the Sun's beautiful outer atmosphere known as the corona. The path of totality will only be visible in parts of central Indonesia and the Pacific Ocean. A partial eclipse will be visible in most parts of northern Australia and southeast Asia
  • March Equinox.

    March Equinox.
    The March equinox occurs at 04:30 UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Full Moon

    Full Moon
    The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 12:02 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Worm Moon because this was the time of year when the ground would begin to soften and the earthworms would reappear. This moon has also been known as the Full Crow Moon, the Full Crust Moon, the Full Sap Moon, and the Lenten Moon.
  • Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

    Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
    A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth's partial shadow, or penumbra. During this type of eclipse the Moon will darken slightly but not completely. The eclipse will be visible throughout most of extreme eastern Asia, eastern Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and the west coast of North America including Alaska.
  • September Equinox.

    September Equinox.
    The September equinox occurs at 14:21 UTC. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is also the first day of fall (autumnal equinox) in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of spring (vernal equinox) in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Geminids Meteor Shower.

    Geminids Meteor Shower.
    The Geminids is the king of the meteor showers. It is considered by many to be the best shower in the heavens, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid known as 3200 Phaethon, which was discovered in 1982. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. It peaks this year on the night of the 13th and morning of the 14th. The nearly full moon will block out many of the fainter meteors this year.
  • Ursids Meteor Shower.

    Ursids Meteor Shower.
    The Ursids is a minor meteor shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet Tuttle, which was first discovered in 1790. The shower runs annually from December 17-25. It peaks this year on the the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. The second quarter moon will block many of the fainter meteors. But if you are patient, you might still be able to catch a few of the brighter ones.