Indiana January 06, 2021
Don’t Miss The 12 Best Stargazing Events That Will Light Up The Indiana Sky In 2021
Every year, there are a number of fabulously exciting celestial events happening in the skies above us. They range from the average (like full or new moons) to the extraordinary (planetary conjunctions, anyone?), but no matter where in the Hoosier state you are, 2021 is sure to be a busy year for night sky enthusiasts like us! Here’s a sampling of things you can look forward to this year.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
January 24th: Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation
This means that the little planet may be more visible than usual if you have clear access to the horizon; it may appear illuminated in the low western sky very shortly after sunset. Venus will later reach its western elongation on March 6th, flipping the rules; it'll be visible in the eastern sky just before sunrise at that time.
April 22nd-23rd: Lyrids Meteor Shower
This shower is a moderate one, with around 20 meteors per hour at its peak. Although the full moon will likely be an issue drowning out the fainter ones, the meteors will still appear to radiate from the constellation Lyra, and the brighter ones should be visible despite the moonlight.
April 27th: Supermoon
Neat! The supermoon is a spectacular optical illusion; in this case, the moon appears larger and brighter than usual for the night. This supermoon is the first of three this year; the other two will occur on May 26th and June 24th.
May 6th-May 7th: Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
This one is a little more spectacular if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, but up here in the Northern Hemisphere, we can expect to see around 30 meteors per hour at the peak of this shower. Like just about all meteor showers, this one will peak late on May 6th into the very early hours of May 7th. The moon will be a 2nd quarter moon, so it might block out the faintest of the meteors, but it's not uncommon to see brilliant fireballs with this meteor shower, too.
May 26th: Partial lunar eclipse
Though Indiana won't be seeing the full lunar eclipse like other parts of the US (it will be a total eclipse in the western US), we should still be able to see it eclipse just a little. This night is also a full/supermoon, so it's a whole package of awesomeness.
July 12th: Venus-Mars Conjunction
If you thought the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction of 2020 was cool, get ready for the sequel: Planetary Conjunction 2, Electric Boogaloo. Okay, just kidding, but seriously – this time it's going to be Venus and Mars that line up, and you won't want to miss it!
July 28th-July 29th: Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower
Another annual meteor shower for our viewing pleasure peaks late on the night of July 28th-early morning of July 29th. This one is a more moderate one, with about 20 meteors per hour at its peak, and will appear to radiate from the constellation Aquarius.
August 2nd: Saturn at Opposition
On this night, Saturn will appear at its closest to Earth and will be fully illuminated by the sun. It's the brightest that the gas giant will appear all year, and it's visible from twilight to dawn. On August 19th, it's Jupiter's turn to shine when it comes into its own opposition.
August 12th-August 13th: Perseids Meteor Shower
One of the most major meteor showers of the year will light up the Indiana sky late-night August 12th to early-morning August 13th. For this show, the moon sets early on in the evening, so it shouldn't drown out meteors like other showers earlier in the year. As always, this shower appears to radiate from Perseus.
August 22nd: Blue Moon
During most years, one can reliably expect to have two full moons throughout summer. However, every 2.7 years, we're treated to what's called a Blue Moon: the third full moon to light up the sky during summer. Cool! Enjoy the extra moonlight. (It's not literally blue, though!)
November 19th: Partial Lunar Eclipse
Once again, the moon is obscured by the shadow of the earth – at least a little.
December 13th-December 14th: Geminids Meteor Shower
It's as if nature was saving the best for last because this particular meteor shower is not something you'll want to miss! The biggest shower of the year produces up to 120 meteors per hour during its peak, and they tend to be brightly colored. A waxing gibbous moon will likely drown out some fainter meteors, but there are so many that fall during this shower that we don't think that's going to impede your viewing experience much at all.
This list is in no way exhaustive- if you’d like to see a complete list of celestial goodies to anticipate this year, check out
this website. It’s quite helpful!
What was the coolest night-sky event you’ve ever seen? Tell us all about it in the comments!