Merry Christmas! Astronomical recap of 2020

~3 min

Finally! 2020 is almost gone, and we’re all excited to see what 2021 is preparing for us. But don’t treat 2020 too harshly — despite many difficulties, it was an excellent year for all astronomy lovers. Furthermore, it encouraged many people to start their stargazing journey and brought many newcomers to the stargazing community. And now, around the Christmas, let’s recap some significant astronomical events of 2020!

2020 astronomical events overview

We already published a separate article dedicated to the brightest comets of 2020 and 2021 — there, we obviously mentioned the magnificent NEOWISE. Take a look at that article before you keep reading this one.

The year 2020 started with a series of Supermoons, which is not precisely an astronomical term — it was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle. Basically, the Supermoon is a Full or a New Moon that occurs when the Moon comes closest to the Earth. Thus, our natural satellite appears slightly larger than usual. The biggest and brightest one was the Pink Moon that took place on April 7.

The next special astronomical event provided a spectacular view to observers from parts of Africa, south of Pakistan, northern India, and China — the "Ring of Fire" annular solar eclipse on June 21. Even though this is an annual phenomenon, this year’s eclipse was special, since over 99% of the Sun’s disk was covered. It created a dramatic celestial spectacle.

A couple of weeks after the eclipse, on July 4, one more unique event occurred — the planet parade. Although it’s not an official scientific term, it was a unique event for observers from the Earth. All the Solar system planets lined up on one side of the Sun at the same time. The last similar planet parade occurred in 1982, and the next one is expected in 2161.

Bright red Mars reached an opposition on October 13 and became a wonderful treat for skywatchers worldwide. The planet was at its brightest and largest, very easy to observe with a naked eye. This year, Mars was at a very close distance from the Earth — at about 62 million km. The next time we’ll see the Red Planet at the same apparition will be in 2035.

Speaking about the brightest astronomical events, the Geminid meteor shower 2020 created an extraordinary view in the sky. The New Moon phase coincided with the Geminids’ peak this year, creating perfect observational conditions. Many people reported luminous long-tailed meteors in the sky.

The last epic happening of 2020 took place on December 21 — the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. Two planets shined as one “Christmas Star.” This event is most likely one of the rarest of the year. It became the closest approach of the two gas giants since 1623 and the first observable one since 1226.

Of course, there were plenty of noteworthy stargazing events in 2020 — share with us your favorite one. We’ll also provide you with the forecast on major astronomical events of 2021 around the New Year.

Merry Christmas!

We’d love to thank you all for being with us this year. Due to your valuable feedback, we developed and improved our applications, achieved major goals, and set new ones! And as a Christmas present for all our users, we arranged a huge sale on one of our most unique apps: Ephemeris — Sun and Moon Calendar & Calculator.

Ephemeris will help you visualize and predict the Sun, the Milky Way, and the Moon’s position, sunrise and sunset times, golden hour, blue hour, twilight, and other special moments for stunning photos. Calculate the best position to capture the Sun, the Moon, or the Milky Way, see them in the sky around you with the help of the augmented reality function. Ephemeris will also show you all the necessary details — just swipe left the toolbar in the right part of your screen. From December 25, 2020, to January 2, 2021, lifetime access to all the app’s features is available at up to 70% discount! In a few days, the last Full Moon of the year will adorn the sky. Download Ephemeris and use it to make a perfect shot of the December Full Cold Moon on December 30. Make sure to share with us your beautiful shots on social media.

May your world be filled with warmth and good cheer this Holy season, we wish you a joy-filled Christmas. Here’s to a year of blessings and beyond. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Sincerely yours, Vito Technology Team.