Show Me The Calendar For May 2024

Three Supermoons, Two Comets And The ‘Great American Eclipse:’ The Sky In 2024

2024 promises to be a fabulous year for stargazing and observing the night sky.


Printable May  Calendar
Printable May Calendar

There’s a specific date in 2024 that has hopefully been in your calendar for some years. Monday, April 8, 2024, will see a total solar eclipse visible from 15 U.S. States as well as from Mexico and Canada. Do you have plans? Good. You’ve never heard of it? Time to do your research and book somewhere as soon as possible (see my feed for ideas).

However, there will be more going on in the sky over North America in 2024 than just a total solar eclipse. From rare views of comets and stunning planetary views to a trio of supermoons and another “ring of fire,” there will be plenty of celestial events to enjoy in the year ahead.

Printable May  Calendar
Printable May Calendar

Here’s everything you need to know about stargazing, the night sky and eclipse-chasing in 2024:

A total solar eclipse on July 2, 2019 in Paiguano, Chile. (Photo by Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

Getty Images Great American Eclipse: total solar eclipse

When and where: April 8, 2024, narrow path of totality across North America

A chance to experience totality only comes around every 375 years, on average, for any one place on the planet. So, to have two total eclipses of the sun inside seven years in North America is quite something. Today’s totality will last up to 4 minutes and 26 seconds, but geography will be everything.

Darkness in the day and a chance to see the sun’s spectacular corona with naked eyes will only be open to those who try to travel to the 125-mile wide path of totality that stretches from the Pacific coast of northwestern Mexico to Atlantic Canada. On the way, it will go through parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. If you make zero effort, you’ll see a rather uninteresting partial solar eclipse.

On April 8, 2024 the “Great American Eclipse”—coined by cartographer Michael Zeiler, who designed … [+] this map—will be seen in Mexico, 15 U.S. states and Canada. Zeiler Two Bright Comets

When: March through April (Comet Pons-Brooks)/October (Comet Tsuchinshan-ATLAS)

There have been a few bright comments in recent years. Who can forget Comet NEOWISE during the COVID-19 lockdowns and last year’s oddly-named “green comet” (all comets are green!)? Two comets may be visible in 2024—one of them, possibly during totality on April 8!

That would be Comet Pons-Brooks, a short-period comet that loops around the sun every 71 years, which ought to be visible in binoculars during March and April. On April 12, it will be close to Jupiter on its way to peak brightness on April 21. Next to arrive will be Comet Tsuchinshan-ATLAS, a comet discovered in January 2023 that could be visible before sunrise in late September and an evening object on October 13.

Either or both comets could outburst and brighten at any time—or they could fizzle out.

Three Moon-less Meteor Showers

When: Quadrantid meteor shower (January 3/4), Eta Aquariids (May 5/6) and Perseids (August 12-13)

A ton of meteor showers happen on more or less the exact dates every year. However, please don’t make the mistake of heading outside or searching out dark skies for all of them. Not only are some more prolific than others, but the phase of the moon makes a big difference to what you will see. In 2024, three major meteor showers will take place under moonless skies.

First will come the Quadrantids in early January (60-200 “shooting stars” per hour at the peak), followed by May’s Eta Aquariids (10-20 per hour) and, thankfully, August’s Perseids (100 per hour)—the latter being the best and most popular.

The rising Full Moon of September 9, 2022, the Harvest Moon. (Photo by: Alan Dyer/VW Pics/Universal … [+] Images Group via Getty Images)

VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images Three Supermoons, One Eclipsed

When: September 18, October 17 and November 15

Super moons are increasingly big news, and in 2024, there will be a trio of these larger-than-average full moons to see. First will come September’s full moon, the Super Harvest Moon Eclipse, which will move into Earth’s fuzzy penumbral shadow and be 8% eclipsed, as seen from Europe, Africa and the Americas, though it won’t turn red.

Next, it’s October’s Super Harvest Moon, the biggest, brightest and best full moon of the year and, finally, November’s Super Beaver Moon. Catch them as they rise in the east if you want to be genuinely impressed.

September 18 – Super Harvest Moon Eclipse October 17 – Super Hunter’s Moon November 15 – Super Beaver Moon ‘Kissing’ Planets

When: April 20, July 15 and August 15

Close conjunctions of planets—when they appear close to each other—are relatively rare, but 2024 will include a few unique views:

April 20: Jupiter and Uranus (separated by just half a degree) July 16: Mars and Uranus (separated by just a degree—an outstretched finger) August 15: Mars and Jupiter (separated by just a third of a degree) Saturn’s Rings At Their Best

When and where: September 8

When Earth passes between the sun and an outer planet, that planet will appear to be both at its most prominent (because it’s at its closest) and its disk 100% illuminated as seen from Earth. That’s what will happen to Saturn in September, with the sixth planet looking at its brightest and best for all of 2024. Any small telescope will show you astronomy’s most beautiful night-time sight—Saturn’s rings.

MORE FROM FORBESIn 365 Days A ‘Ring Of Fire’ Solar Eclipse Will Visit Easter IslandBy Jamie Carter A ‘Ring Of Fire’

When and where: October 2, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and South America

If you saw October’s “ring of fire annular solar eclipse,” then perhaps you’ll consider traveling to see another one hanging above the mysterious Moai—the stone statues of the Rapa Nui culture—on Easter Island about 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) from the Chilean coast.

Jupiter At Its Biggest And Best

When and where: December 6/7

Its annual opposition in early December will mean Jupiter appears its most prominent and brightest. It will also shine for the longest, rising at dusk and setting at dawn as the planet becomes ideally positioned for observing its Great Red Spot, its pinkish cloud bands and its four giant Galilean moons. If there was ever a year to buy a telescope for Christmas, it’s 2024.

I’m an expert on eclipses—the editor of and author of The Complete Guide To The Great North American Eclipse of April 8, 2024. For the very latest on the “ring of fire” solar eclipse—including travel and lodging options—check my main feed for new articles each day.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.