Want to get out and see the magic of the universe? These are the stargazing events to check out this year.
I could stare at the stars and the ocean for hours. When looking upon the expanse of the sky, it seems to go on forever and make me and my problems feel so small (in a good way).
A few years ago we started to get into astrophotography, but after moving to NYC, we’ve been shooting city lights over the night sky. While living in the city that never sleeps, we met some incredible astrophotographers who have inspired us to get back at it. We have a feeling our next city will have us spending more time outside.
This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. All opinions are always our own. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.
Last Updated: January 5, 2021
15 Stargazing Events You Won't Want to Miss in 2021
We’ve done some night photography on a whim, but in hindsight realized it takes a some astronomy knowledge to capture great star photos. P.S. I also did some sports photography back in college, which was a disaster, because I didn’t understand the sport and could never follow the ball. I am hoping in the coming year with a better understanding of the stars, we can take some rad photos of them.
To helps us plan for the year, we’ve put together a calendar of stargazing events, new moons, full moons, and more. That way, we can plan each trip accordingly to get the best results. Here are the astronomy events that you should mark on your calendars!
Also, it helps to ask to go with some already knowledgeable folks or attend a star party.
1. Quadrantids Meteor Shower
January 2-3, 2021
This shower runs annually from January 1-5, but peaks on the night of the 2nd with up to 40 meteors per hour. The best viewing will be after midnight. Unfortunately, the waning gibbous moon will block our faint meteors. This shower is believed to be dust grains left by the extinct comet 2003 EH1.
2. Lyrids Meteor Shower
April 22-23, 2021
The Lyrids are produced by dust particles left by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, and there are roughly 20 meteors per hour during its peak. It runs from April 16-25 with the peak the night of the 22nds and morning of the 23rd.
3. Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
May 6-7, 2021
The most active portion of this shower will be seen in the Southern Hemisphere with up to 60 meteors per hour. In the Northern Hemisphere, there will be up to 40 meteors per hour. It runs annually from April 19 to May 28 but peaks the night of May 6. This shower is made of dust particles left by the Halley comet.
4. Total Lunar Eclipse
May 26, 2021
When the Moon passes completely through the Earth’s dark shadow, you get a total lunar eclipse. You’ll be able to see this one from the Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, Australia, and western North America.
5. Annular Solar Eclipse
June 10, 2021
This type of eclipse results in a ring of light around the darkened Moon because it’s too far away from the Early to completely cover the Sun. See this one from eastern Russia, the Arctic Ocean, and Canada. You can see a partial eclipse from northeastern United States, Europe, and most of Russia.
6. Neowise Comet
July 13 – 19, 2020
If you live in the Northern hemisphere you can see comet Neowise. Just look northwest just after sunset, and it can be visible to the human eye. It still helps to have binoculars or a telescope though, and if you’re photographing it, bring your long lens. Each night, it will rise higher above the horizon. Catch it now, since it won’t be seen for another 6800 years.
6. Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower
July 28-29, 2021
Debris from the Marsden and Kracht comets create this annual shower that runs from July 12 to August 23. During its peak the night of July 28th, you can see up to 20 meteors per hour. Unfortunately it will be nearly a full moon making it hard to see unless they are very bright.
7. Perseids Meteor Shower
August 12-13, 2021
This is one of the best meteor showers and stargazing events to check out this year. It produces up to 60 bright meteors per hour from the Swift-Tuttle comet. It runs from July 17 to August 24 with its peak the night of August 12. The waxing crescent moon sets early evening making for great conditions to view them after midnight.
8. Draconids Meteor Shower
October 7, 2021
This is a smaller meteor shower but still has about 10 meteors per hour left by comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner. It’s best viewed in the early evening instead of the early morning and runs from Oct 6-10 with the peak on the 7th. The new moon will make it easy to see the shower.
9. Orionids Meteor Shower
October 21-22, 2021
Running from October 2 to November 7, the dust grains left by comet Halley can produce up to 20 meteors per hour at its peak on the night of October 21. The full moon will make it tough to see any faint meteors.
10. Taurids Meteor Shower
November 4-5, 2021
This is a smaller shower made up of dust grains left by Asteroid 2004 TG10 and Comet 2P Encke. It runs from September 7 to December 10 but the peak happens the night of November 4th. The new moon will make for a great show.
11. Leonids Meteor Shower
November 17-18, 2021
This annual shower runs from November 6-30 with 15 meteors per hour at its peak. The Tempel-Tuttle comet dust grains peak the night of November 17th, but the second quarter moon will block out most of the fainter meteors. This is another shower that will have to fight with a full moon.
12. Total Solar Eclipse
December 4, 2021
We got a chance to catch 2018’s total solar eclipse and it was really amazing to witness. This year, the total solar eclipse can’t be seen from North America, but can only be seen in Antarctica and the southern Atlantic Ocean.
13. Geminids Meteor Shower
December 13-14, 2020
This is one of the best meteor showers with up to 120 multicolored meteors at its peak. The debris left from asteroid 3200 Phaethon runs from December 7-17 but peaks the night of December 13th. The waxing gibbous moon will block out anything fainter but you should be able to catch the bright meteors.
15. Ursids Meteor Shower
December 21-22, 2020
If you haven’t gotten enough meteor showers this year, catch the final shower the night of the 21st and morning of the 22nd. The Ursids is a smaller shower producing about 5-10 meteors per hour left by the comet Tuttle.
2021 New Moon Dates
As a photographer, we’re always planning astrophotography around new moon because the sky is darkest and we can shoot photos of galaxies, star clusters, and the milky way. For that reason, it makes it great for stargazing too.
- January 13, 2021 05:02 UTC
- February 11, 2021 19:08 UTC
- March 13, 2021 10:23 UTC
- April 12, 2021 02:32 UTC
- May 11, 2021 19:01 UTC
- June 10, 2021 10:54 UTC
- July 10, 2021 01:17 UTC
- August 15, 2021 15:21 UTC
- September 7, 2021 00:52 UTC
- October 6, 2021 11:05 UTC
- November 4, 2021 21:15 UTC
- December 4, 2021 07:44 UTC
2021 Full Moon Dates
If you’re looking for bright nights or to shoot the moon, go out on full moon days. This year, there are three supermoons, which means the moon is closest to Earth can may look slightly larger and brighter.
- January 28, 2021 Wolf Moon
- February 27, 2021 Snow Moon
- March 28, 2021 Worm Moon
- April 26, 2021 Supermoon / Pink Moon
- May 26, 2021 Supermoon / Flower Moon
- June 24, 2021 Supermoon / Strawberry moon
- July 23, 2021 Buck Moon
- August 22, 2021 Blue Moon / Sturgeon Moon
- September 20, 2021 Harvest Moon
- October 20, 2021 Blood Moon
- November 19, 2021 Frost Moon
- December 18, 2021 Cold Moon
Note: A blue moon is the third of four full moons in a season. It’s a rare calendar event and only happens once every few years. Blue moons usually happen only once every 2.7 years. There is also another definition that came about from confusion: a blue moon can also be the second full moon in any given month.
2021 Eclipse Dates
- May 26, 2021 – Total Lunar Eclipse (Visible throughout the Pacific Ocean and parts of eastern Asia, Australia, and western North America)
- June 10, 2021 – Annular Solar Eclipse (Visible in eastern Russia, the Arctic Ocean, Canada, and western Greenland)
- November 19, 2021 – Partial Lunar Eclipse (Visible in eastern Russia, Japan, North America, Mexico, Central America, and western South America)
- December 4, 2021 – Total Solar Eclipse (Visible in Antarctica and southern Atlantic Ocean)
Opposition Dates in 2021
Planets in opposition are the best time to see them because they are closest to Earth.
- August 2, 2021 – Saturn
- August 19, 2021 – Jupiter
- September 14, 2021 – Neptune
- November 5, 2021 – Uranus
2021 Equinox & Solstice Dates
- March 20, 2021 March Equinox (First Day of Spring)
- June 21, 2021 June Solstice (First Day of Summer)
- September 22, 2021 September Equinox (First Day of Fall)
- December 21, 2021 December Solstice (First Day of Winter)
Meteor Shower Dates in 2021
- January 2-3, 2021 – Quadrantids Meteor Shower
- April 22-23, 2021 – Lyrids Meteor Shower
- May 6-7, 2021 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower
- July 28-29, 2021 – Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower
- August 12-13, 2021 – Perseids Meteor Shower
- October 7, 2021 – Draconids Meteor Shower
- October 21-22, 2021 – Orionids Meteor Shower
- November 4-5, 2021 – Taurids Meteor Shower
- November 17-18, 2021 – Leonids Meteor Shower
- December 13-14, 2021 – Geminids Meteor Shower
- December 21-22, 2021 – Ursids Meteor Shower
Highlights of 2020
Two of the big highlights of 2020 was seeing the Neowise Comet and the Bethlehem Star. The Bethlehem star was honestly a bit of a letdown. There was so much hype around Jupiter and Saturn not coming together for 800 years, but turns out anyone with good eyesight could see two distinct planets and not one massive Christmas star. The comet, on the other hand, was really amazing to see with the naked eye and to photograph.
Both events will not happen again in our lifetime.
What stargazing events have you seen? When is the last time you stargazed?