Visibility of the May 20, 2012 solar eclipse. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC
The nights are getting warmer; it won’t be long until summer comes! With summer near, many astronomers are dusting off their telescopes and preparing to take advantage of good weather.
This summer should provide great opportunities for stargazers to view planets, meteor showers, the transit of Venus, and for some, the annular solar eclipse.
On May 20th, observers in China, Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and the western portion of the United States will be able to catch the 2012 annular solar eclipse.
Observers located in Asia, Australia, the Pacific Ocean, and the Americas will be able to observe a partial lunar eclipse, however the main event of June is the highly anticipated transit of Venus on the 6th (the 5th, for observers in the Americas).
In July, The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks during the 28th/29th. Wait until the Moon sets (after 1AM local time) and look to the East, towards Aquarius for best viewing.
The highlight of August is the Perseid Meteor Shower, which peaks around the 12th. Last year’s showing was diminished by a nearly full Moon, however this year’s showing will have a good window of viewing from 11pm until about 1 AM local time before a waning crescent Moon rises.
You can read the full Night Sky Guide for Summer 2012 at The Planetary Society