Image by jplenio from Pixabay
From SEA and SKY at http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2020.html
- January 3, 4 – 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 first quarter moon will set shortly after midnight, leaving fairly dark skies for what could be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- January 10 – 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 19:23 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.
- January 10 – 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 Europe, Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, and Western Australia. (NASA Map and Eclipse Information)
- January 24 – 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 21:44 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.
- February 9 – Full Moon, Supermoon. 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 07:34 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. This is also the first of four supermoons for 2020. The Moon will be at its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.
- February 10 – Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 18.2 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 evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
- February 23 – 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 15:33 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.
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Athabasca full moon chart:
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds (Penguin 2006)