Merrillville Community Planetarium
Bringing the Universe to the Merrillville Schools and Northwest Indiana

Astronomy Highlights for 2020

MOON & ECLIPSES. Penumbral lunar eclipses occur on January 10th and June 5th, neither of which can be seen from Indiana. On November 30, another penumbral can be seen from North America. Two solar eclipses cannot be seen from NW Indiana occur in 2020. They are an annular solar eclipse on June 21st and a total solar eclipse on December 14th.

There are four “Supermoons” this year in four consecutive months, on February 9th, March 9th, April 8th, and May 7th. There is one Blue Moon (the second full moon in one month) on October 31st (Halloween!)

METEOR SHOWERS It’s a good year for meteor showers! Meteor showers with favorable viewing conditions during their peaks are: Quadrantids on January 3/4, Lyrids on April 22/23, Perseids on August 12/13, Draconids on October 7th, Orionids on October 21/22, Leonids on November 17/18, Geminids on December 13/14, and Ursids on 21/22.

PLANETS Planets in opposition (opposite the sun in our sky) are best for viewing and can be seen from sunset to sunrise. This year they are: Jupiter on July 14, Saturn on July 20th, Neptune on September 11th, Mars on October 13, and Uranus on October 31st. A rare conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn, called a great conjunction, will occur on December 21st.

SPECIAL EVENTS: All viewing events are FREE and open to the public. Spring Astronomy Week begins on April 26th and ending with Astronomy Day on May 2th. Fall Astronomy week begins September 20 and ending with Astronomy Day on September 26th. Calumet Astronomical Society (CAS) will have FREE Telescopic Viewing Events at Conway Observatory in Lowell from January through November. For a schedule, check their website at www.casonline.org. Kemil Beach is offering free viewings on the third Saturday of each month, weather permitting. During the spring and fall semesters, Valparaiso University (VU) Observatory has telescopic viewings from their observatory. Lectures are presented occasionally by scholars from around the world. For updates and lecture information each semester, visit their website at www.valpo.edu/physics and click on “Astronomy Outreach & Open House Schedule.”