From meteor showers to lunar eclipses, many exciting astronomical phenomena will be visible in 2022.
On May 15, the first total lunar eclipse of the year will occur. The moon will be a reddish color that can be easily seen with the naked eye. A second total lunar eclipse will take place later in the year on Nov. 8.
“The lunar eclipse [happens] when our moon passes in Earth’s shadow,” Tualatin High School astronomy teacher Timothy Youngberg explained. “The sunlight passes through Earth’s atmosphere and is bent onto the moon, so the moon turns a coppery red color.”
However, not only are there two lunar eclipses, but there will also be a pair of supermoons. June 14’s night sky will hold a full moon that looks bigger and brighter than normal due to the elliptical path of the moon’s orbit around Earth, as explained by AccuWeather. Another supermoon will follow on July 13.
Additionally, the rare alignment of numerous planets will also transpire this summer. Just before sunrise on June 24, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and possibly Uranus can be seen across the early morning sky, and though they are not actually lined up perfectly in the solar system, we will see the planets form a line in order. According to a National Geographic article, Uranus may be difficult to see, but with a clear sky, stargazers should be able to find the planet as a green dot in the sky.
Lastly, the Perseid Meteor Shower will be a beautiful sight to look out for. On the night of Aug. 11-12, around 50 to 100 meteors will be shooting across the sky per hour, though OregonLive warns that the full moon that will simultaneously be shining the same night might obscure some of the dimmer meteors.
Youngberg shared some advice on the best local areas to stargaze.
“Usually, the best thing to do [is to] go to Women’s Forum, which is in the Columbia River Gorge near Corbett,” he said. “But really, just getting out of any big metropolitan area—like [going out to] any local state park in the Willamette Valley—would be good.”
If good weather and clear skies allow it, 2022 will prove to be an impressive year for astronomers.