2020 was a good astronomical year, not the best, but its events – at the level of the night sky – enjoyed millions of amateur astronomers around the world. This may have helped them a little bit to resist boredom and anxiety in an atmosphere dominated by disease and fear, but in 2021, while the Earth witnesses the largest vaccination process in History, may we get rid of this pandemic, the night sky continues to delight us, and although it can be described as a normal year, it will present one wonderful event that we have not seen in years related to meteors.
Let’s start with the giant moon (Supermoon), which is an interesting phenomenon in which the moon appears larger than usual in its size and brightness, this happens because the full moon phase is associated with the presence of the moon at its perigee point, that is, its closest position to the Earth, and we know that the moon does not revolve around the earth In a circle, but in an elliptical orbit, it approaches it sometimes and turns away at other times. In the case of the giant moon, the moon is 14% larger in size and 30% brighter than what we call the micromoon, which is when it corresponds as a full moon with its presence at the farthest point from the earth (apogee).
Do not confuse the giant moon with the Moon Illusion phenomenon, which is an optical illusion in which the moon appears larger near the horizon than when it rises in the sky, we do not know a specific reason for this phenomenon, but if you raise your finger to the moon anywhere in the sky, it will cover it, meaning Because it is a problem related to our minds, perhaps because the presence of the moon between the features of the earth (houses or the terrain) shows great.
The giant moon is always an enjoyable opportunity to look at the sky, whether you are a regular person or a photographer, as the spread of news of the phenomenon on social media is useful in the spread of its images, accordingly, and in 2021 we are on a date with three giant moons, it occurs on the nights of April 27 and May 26 May and June 24, the best of them all is the May event where the moon is only 357,462 kilometers from Earth during a full moon.
Four wonderful stars stand on the path of the moon every year to receive messages from loved ones and inform him of the secrets of the universe. This is how the ancients imagined the relationship between the moon and the stars of Aldebaran, the king or the lion’s heart (Regulus), the defenseless fish (Spica), and the heart of the scorpion (Antares) . There are many stars that get in the way of the moon, but these are the brightest and closest to its path.
Aldebaran is the brightest star of the constellation Taurus, and the constellation is a group of stars in the sky that take a distinctive shape, linked by the ancients to their myths and tales. Aldebaran will attract your attention with its clear red color, and it is a red giant if it were the size of a soccer ball, the sun would be the size of a pea, but – believe it or not – the Aldebaran was someday almost the size of the sun, and one day the sun will be like a Aldebaran, the stars are usually of medium size It swells in its last days, after which its outer covers are shaken off, creating a colorful cloud that we call “a planetary nebula” that embraces inside it the remnants of the star.
Heart of Scorpio is the brightest star of the constellation Scorpio, which is named so because of its bright red color as it competes with the brightness of Mars, and the representative of the war god Ares (Anti-ares) in the ancient myth. Scorpion’s heart is a super red giant that lives its last days, and it is larger than the red giant, with a diameter of about 600-700 times the size of the sun, which means that you compare a pea with a barrel of spherical water! Like the red giant, the supergiant is also one of the stages of the end of the star’s life, but it is the massive stars that exceed the mass of the sun by about 8 times or more.
As for the brightest star in the constellation Leo (Leo), it is the Lion Heart, about 77 light years away from us, and it is a young star, as it is only a few hundred million years old, the star is located exactly on the zodiac circle, which makes it a famous companion of the moon, and it may be hidden behind or behind it One of the planets. The Lion Heart is not a single star, with a small telescope you can observe its little golden twin, the twin in itself is two stars (a white dwarf and a red dwarf), you are looking at a system consisting of three suns rotating together, remember that when you see it next time!
And defenseless fish is the brightest star of the constellation Virgo, it is about 272 light years away from us, but despite this it takes a high position in the list of the brightest stars in the sky, and the reason is that the luminosity of the star is 2000 times greater than the sun, it is a blue giant, and therefore it burns its hydrogen quickly The surface temperature of the defenseless fish reaches about 23 thousand degrees, compared to only 6 thousand degrees for the surface of the sun.
The year 2020 will be a little bad for the meeting of Aldebaran, the Lion’s heart, the defenseless fish, and the Scorpion’s heart with the moon, as the distance between the moon and the star is always greater than 3 arc degrees, which means that the moon will be away from Aldebaran a distance greater than 3 fingers (extend your hands in front of you) And lift 3 adjacent fingers), astronomers measure the distances between objects in the night sky in arcseconds and not in centimeters or meters, so the night sky for an observer on the ground is a large sphere that we fall in the center and we measure it as if we were the center of a huge geometric protractor.
Aldebaran approaches the moon best on the evening of January 23 and February 20, and the Lion’s heart approaches the moon best on the evening of March 25, April 22 and May 19, and the defenseless fish approaches the moon best. On the evening of June 19 and July 16, the Antares approach to the Moon is best on the evening of May 26 and July 20.
The planets appear in the night sky, shining like stars, because – like the moon – they reflect the sun’s light to the earth, but because they are so far from us, they appear to us as stars. And in 2021 there is an interesting group of planetary dances with each other, and with the moon as well, of course the most distinctive event in 2020 was the meeting of Jupiter with Saturn, and in December they were at the closest distance from each other for the first time in eight centuries, but they moved away. A little apart will remain so close through 2021.
March will be the best months for Mercury, and on March 9 and 10 specifically, after dawn and before sunrise, you can contemplate the most beautiful dances of the planets this year, where Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury and the crescent meet in one beautiful scene that deserves to go out to contemplate it. If only for five minutes, and take a picture of him. Jupiter is the brightest, with a whitish color, followed by Saturn and Mercury in a yellowish color.
As for the second most beautiful dance of the planets this year, it will be on the night of July 12, just after sunset, as this period witnesses the approach of two bright planets above the western horizon, namely Mars and Venus, and both of them approach with the crescent on July 12, to be a magical sight that is not repeated often . Mars glows in a clear red color, while Venus is the brightest body in the sky, and glows white.
After that comes the wonderful third dance of this year and will be on December 7, to complete the splendor of 2021, where Jupiter, Saturn and Venus meet in a wonderful and rare scene, and the crescent joins them to make it the most beautiful scene, of course we know that the brightest planets in the sky are Venus, followed by Jupiter, This will be a very interesting opportunity to compare them in one moment with your eyes.
Of course, during 2021 you can notice the conjunction of one of the planets with the moon almost every month, but we chose those dances for you because they are the most beautiful and striking, but you also do not miss the approach of the moon to Mars on April 17th and from Venus on November 8, During the months between March and November, you can see the moon as it passes between Jupiter and Saturn once a month.
2021 is considered an ideal year for two wonderful meteor shower, the first is the most important event of this year, because it is the best shower ever in the Arab world, which is the Perseid Meteor Shower, as that night between 12-13 August, starting from mid Night until sunrise, is the height of that meteor shower, meaning it is the best night you can see meteors. You can see up to 120 meteors per hour for that particular shower in remote areas. The moon will set on that night around 9 pm, leaving us a dark sky inhabited by hundreds of meteors.
The second pleasant shower is the Geminids on the night between December 13-14, and it is one of the most important and enjoyable meteor showers throughout the year, where you, in a remote location, can see about 100 meteors per hour, the moon will set in that Tonight is around midnight, and after it’s gone you can calmly contemplate the sky.
Fortunately, meteor showers are a phenomenon that does not need complicated tools such as telescopes or binoculars, all you need to do is stay away from light pollution as much as possible. The closer you are to city centers, the fewer meteors you can detect dramatically. It approaches 120 meteors per hour, so monitoring them in a city like Cairo will not give you more than 10-20 meteors, if you are lucky. Therefore, going out to remote areas, villages, for example, with relatives, or desert trips, will be an ideal solution.
You will need something to lie on so that you face the largest possible area of the night sky, although your target will be the center of a meteor shower, meteors will in any case spread throughout the sky. It will take about half an hour for your eyes to adjust to the darkness in the location of the observation, use that time to arrange the tools, such as taking out hot tea and preparing the place, it is pleasant to observe meteor showers with company, and maybe some chatter waiting for a bright meteor.
Now let’s proceed to the least important and wonderful astronomical events in 2021, which are the ones that combine the moon with the sun, and we mean the eclipse and the eclipse. In the past years, the Arab world has witnessed a group of its most spectacular eclipses and eclipses, but unfortunately in 2021 the world is witnessing two solar eclipses, one annular on June 10 and the other on December 4, and two lunar eclipses, on May 26 and 18-19 However, the Arab world will only witness the partial eclipse of November, and this will not be in all of our Arab countries, but rather in Morocco and Algeria, and their residents will only be able to observe the side of a small part of the eclipse, which begins at about six in the morning local time. Greenwich.
Well, imagine the night sky like a huge cinema screen that is never bored because it changes day by day, and every day you can see something new, interesting and contemplative. One of the reasons that prevent us from learning the basics of astronomy is our perception that the matter is costly and requires a lot of tools and travel to the far reaches of the country to observe, and this is not true, the only correct start with the night sky involves using your bare eyes, and ascending to the best resort in the world, the one that overlooks Dozens of beautiful scenes every year; Your roof.
- Basically, the writer used the free Stellarium astrological software, as well as another one, Starry Night Pro Plus.