Gaze at the skies with these astronomy events for 2019 - including a super blood wolf moon eclipse and 'ring of fire'
On 19 February 2019, the Moon will reach perigee, i.e. its closest point of approach to Earth. On the very same day, its surface will be 100% illuminated by the Sun, says Forbes.
This unique combo will create a bright spectacle that looks super bright from Earth. The brightest moments for us will be after sunset on Tuesday night.
Don't miss it!
Whether you're an avid amateur astronomer or just like snuggling up with a loved one under the stars from time to time, watching the sky put on a show is magical no matter where you're from in the world.
And this year, January is going to be a busy month for celestial giants.
2019 started off already with a Quadrantids meteor shower and a partial solar eclipse, with a super blood wolf moon eclipse still on its way this month. It's shaping up to be a year to keep your head tilted towards the stars and making plans to travel to the darkest spots in SA, particularly Sutherland, Cederberg and anywhere you can escape the hindrance of city lights.
Even if it's not visible from SA, the spots they are visible in could be your next big trip for 2019.
Here are 2019 celestial events to look out for:
20-21 January: Super Blood Wolf Moon Eclipse
This will be the year's only lunar eclipse, where the Earth's shadow will creep over January's full moon (called a wolf moon) turning it red. It will also be quite close to our blue planet, making it also a supermoon. Other supermoons will take place on 19 February and 21 March as well.
This will be visible from the Americas, Greenland, Iceland, western Europe and West Africa. Eastern Europe and East Africa will only get to see a partial eclipse.
22 January and 24 November: Venus and Jupiter's 'Double Kiss'
The goddess of love and the god of sky and thunder will be in arms reach of each other at dawn on these days.
From Earth, it will look like they're only two degrees apart, and on the 30th the moon will be joining in on the party.
22-23 April: Lyrid Meteor Shower
They will be peaking overnight in April, caused by debris from Comet Thatcher.
5 - 6 May: Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower
This one is debris from Halley's Comet, which takes about 76 years to orbit the sun.
2 July: Total solar eclipse at twilight
This year's solar eclipse unfortunately will be limited, visible from the middle of the South Pacific, seen from luxury cruise ships planning for the event. Other spots to view the eclipse includes Chile's Elqui Valley among the world's biggest telescopes, as well as western Argentina.
If you would love to see it, now's the time to plan a trip to one of these spots.
QUICK GUIDE TO CHILE: Visa-free travel for South Africans
16 July: Partial lunar eclipse
The Southern Hemisphere will get a turn with this partial lunar eclipse, expected to peak around 21:30.
12-13 August: Perseid Meteor Shower
One of the brightest, this meteor shower is debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, which goes around the sun every 133 years.
21-21 October: Orionid Meteor Shower
It will be peaking overnight, the second meteor shower caused by debris from the famous Halley's Comet.
11 November: Mercury crossing the Sun
This only happens every 13 years, where from Earth Mercury will look like a small teardrop on the surface of the sun.
The Hong Kong Space Museum will be holding a special public viewing at Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. You'll need some strong binoculars to be able to see the tiny planet.
QUICK GUIDE TO HONG KONG: Visa-free travel for South Africans
17-18 November: Leonid Meteor Shower
This meteor shower is named after the constellation Leo and comes from the Comet Tempel-Tuttle.
13-14 December: Geminid Meteor Shower
Instead of a comet, these shooting stars are thought to be the debris of an asteroid, specifically the 3200 Phaethon.
21-22 December: Ursid Meteor Shower
The meteors will be active from 17 to 26 December, but peaking overnight on 21-22 December. They are named after the constellation of Ursa Minor.
26 December: Annular Solar Eclipse in South Asia
On the opposite side of the supermoon spectrum, you also get micro-moons when the moon is at its furthest from Earth, and if you're in Saudi Arabia, Oman, southern India, northern Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Singapore on Boxing Day this year, you'll see a solar eclipse with a micro-moon.
Because the moon won't be close enough to block out the sun, it will create a 'ring of fire' around the celestial being, which you can only look at using solar safety glasses.searching and comparing flight prices here. You can also sign-up for the Traveller24 Weekly Newsletter – Subscribe here. Or download the News24 App here, to receive expertly curated travel ideas and deals directly to your mobile.