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Calendar of Celestial Events

Below are notable upcoming celestial events for 2017 that are visible from the Nashville/Brentwood area. Please refer to our calendar to see if Dyer Observatory is planning a special viewing for any of these events.

 

March 20Spring Equinox. The March equinox occurs at 5:29am CDT. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night on the entire surface of the Earth. This date marks the first day of Spring in the northern hemisphere.

April 7Jupiter at Opposition. Jupiter will be at its closest approach to Earth, and its disk will be fully illuminated by the Sun. At this time it will appear brighter than at any other time of the year and will be visible all night long.

May 6 and 7Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower peak. This shower is expected to produce up to 30 meteors per hour at its peak. It is a notable shower for it is produced by dust particles left behind by the well-known comet Halley. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but may appear anywhere in the sky. Best viewing is after midnight.

June 15Saturn at Opposition. Saturn will be at its closest approach to Earth and the diskwill be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than at any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This date would also be the best time to view Saturn’s brightest moons.

June 20Summer Solstice. The solstice occurs at 11:24pm CDT, marking the beginning of our summer. The north pole of Earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its northernmost point in the sky to produce our longest period of daylight.

July 28 and 29Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower peak. The Delta Aquarids shower can produce up to 20 meteors per hour on these dates. The shower runs annually from July 12 to August 23. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius, but may appear anywhere in the sky. Best viewing is after midnight.

August 12 and 13Perseids Meteor Shower. The Perseids is one of the brightest and most prolific showers, producing up to 60 meteors per hour. It is created by debris left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, but may appear anywhere in the sky. Best viewing is after midnight.

THE BIG EVENT OF 2017 – AUGUST 21TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE. The Moon will pass between the Sun and Earth, and its shadow will produce a thin line of totality which will block sunlight for approximately two minutes in the north Nashville area. The entire eclipse will be visible in Nashville starting at approximately 11:58am and ending at 2:54pm. Totality will occur approximately 1:27pm to 1:29pm CDT. SEE OUR ECLIPSE PAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION. The Dyer will not be having events that day, for we are on the edge of totality and have very limited space.

September 5Neptune at Opposition. The planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. Neptune will appear brighter than at any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. Because of its distance from Earth, it will be difficult to spot.

September 22 – Autumn Equinox. The equinox occurs at 3:02pm CDT. The Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night on the entire Earth’s surface. This is the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere.

October 19Uranus at Opposition. The planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will appear brighter than at any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. Due to its distance, it might be difficult to locate though it can easily be spotted with binoculars or a small telescope.

October 21 and 22Orionids Meteor Shower peak. The Orionids typically produce a maximum of 20 meteors per hour at the peak. This meteor shower is produced by dust grains left behind by the famous comet Halley. The shower runs annually from October 2 to November 7. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Orion, but may appear anywhere in the sky. Best viewing is after midnight.

November 17 and 18Leonids Meteor Shower peak. The Leonids display up to 15 meteors per hour at its peak. The shower is produced by debris left behind by comet Tempel-Tuttle. The entire shower runs annually from November 6-30. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Leo, but may appear anywhere in the sky. Best viewing is after midnight.

December 3Supermoon. This is  the only Supermoon of 2017. The Moon will be at its closest approach to the Earth and should look a bit larger and brighter than usual.

December 13 and 14Geminids Meteor Shower peak. The Geminids is  widely considered the showiest shower, producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by debris left behind by an asteroid (3200 Phaethon), rather than a comet. The shower runs annually from December 7-17. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Gemini, but may appear anywhere in the sky. Best viewing is after midnight.

December 21Winter Solstice. The December solstice occurs at 10:28am CDT. The south pole of the earth will be tilted toward the Sun, which will have reached its southernmost position in the sky. This is the first day of winter in the northern hemisphere, which also has the longest night.

Much research for this page was provided by http://www.seasky.org and timeanddate.com.