A complete celestial calendar for 2024
The sky is nature’s canvas, and every year, an array of astronomical phenomena paints the heavens with otherworldly sights guaranteed to fill us with awe. From new moons to lunar and solar eclipses, meteor showers and NASA missions, here’s a selection of can’t-miss celestial events for 2024.
New Moons: New moons mean darker skies, making them the ideal time to stargaze. Here are all the new moon dates for the rest of the year: Feb. 9, March 10, April 8, May 7, June 6, July 5, Aug. 4, Sept. 2, Oct. 2, Nov. 1, Nov. 30, Dec. 30.
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse: On March 25, the first eclipse of the year will immerse 95.57% of the moon’s surface in Earth’s shadow. It will be visible from the Americas, Antarctica, Alaska and northeastern Russia.
Total Solar Eclipse: On April 8, a total solar eclipse will begin over the South Pacific Ocean before crossing over North America, where it will be visible across the United States. Don’t miss it. The next total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous United States will not occur again until Aug. 23, 2044.
Lyrids meteor shower: The Lyrids meteor shower is typically active from April 16 to 25, with peak visibility around April 22 and 23. It is one of the oldest known meteor showers, with streaking fireballs created by debris from comet Thatcher.
Perseid meteor shower: The Perseid meteor shower is typically active between late July and mid-August, with peak visibility around Aug. 12-13. This shower, always eagerly anticipated by stargazers in the U.S., produces a high rate of shooting stars that leave colorful trails across the sky,
Partial Lunar Eclipse: On Sept. 18, a partial lunar eclipse will occur as the moon briefly enters the umbra, Earth’s inner shadow. It will rise over and be completely visible from North America, before setting over Africa and Europe.
Eta Aquarids meteor shower: The Eta Aquarids meteor shower is typically active between April 15 and May 27, with peak visibility around May 5-6. The shower originates from Haley’s Comet and is mostly visible in the Southern Hemisphere but can still be viewed from other parts of the world.
Annual solar eclipse: On Oct. 2, 2024, the moon will pass in front of the sun but will not totally eclipse it, therefore creating a “ring of fire” effect in the sky. The eclipse will cross over the Americas and be visible throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Europa Clipper flight: Scheduled to launch in October, NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft will conduct a detailed survey of Europa, Jupiter’s icy moon, with the hopes of determining whether there are sub-surface areas capable of supporting life.
Orionids meteor shower: The Orionids meteor shower is typically active between Sept. 26-Nov. 22, with peak visibility around Oct. 20-21. The shower is mildly active, with debris from Haley’s Comet visible over large portions of the Northern and Southern hemispheres.
Taurids meteor shower: The Taurids consists of two streams, with the Southern Taurids peaking between Nov. 4 and 5, and the Northern Taurids peaking between Nov. 11 and 12. These slow and long-lasting meteors from comet Encke will be visible throughout the world.
Artemis launch: NASA’s Artemis II mission will send four astronauts on an eight-day lunar flyby aboard an Orion spacecraft. The launch is scheduled for November, weather permitting, and will mark the first time NASA has sent astronauts to the moon since 1972.