Top 12 Astronomical Events of 2022
In this article, we’ll tell you about space-related events that you shouldn’t miss in 2022. You’ll learn about upcoming meteor showers, solar and lunar eclipses, and space missions. Let’s get started!
- Astronomical events
- Space missions
You can also watch our video about the most exciting sky events of 2022.
January 3: Quadrantid meteor shower
The year 2022 will start with the Quadrantids. This meteor shower can produce up to 120 meteors per hour, but on average, its hourly rate equals about 25. During the Quadrantids’ peak in January 2022, less than 1% of the Moon will be illuminated, which is perfect for meteor hunting. It’s best to start your observations after midnight. The Quadrantids’ radiant is located in the constellation Bootes, but meteors can appear anywhere in the sky.
April 30: Partial solar eclipse
A partial solar eclipse occurs when the Moon covers only a part of the Sun’s disk in the sky. In 2022, there will be two partial solar eclipses. The first one will happen on April 30 and will be visible throughout southern South America and parts of Antarctica. Remember that you should never look directly at the Sun without special solar filters!
May 16: Total lunar eclipse
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes into the central part of the Earth’s shadow called the umbra. This type of lunar eclipse is the most spectacular because it turns the Moon red! In 2022, there will be two total lunar eclipses. The first of the two will occur on May 16 and will be visible throughout all of North America, Greenland, and parts of western Europe and western Africa.
August 13: Perseid meteor shower
The Perseids are, probably, the most popular meteor shower — at least in the Northern Hemisphere, where they peak during warm summer nights. This meteor shower is capable of producing up to 100 meteors per hour. Unfortunately, in 2022, observation conditions will be far from ideal due to the Full Moon shining in the sky. However, some of the Perseid meteors are so bright that you could manage to see them regardless. To catch the most meteors, try looking some distance away from the shower’s radiant, which is located in the constellation Perseus.
September 26: Jupiter at opposition
The opposition occurs when a planet is positioned exactly opposite the Sun as observed from the Earth. This is the best time to observe a planet in the sky. In 2022, the gas giant Jupiter will reach opposition on September 26. You’ll be able to see the bright planet with the naked eye; a pair of binoculars will allow you to spot Jupiter’s Galilean moons.
October 25: Partial solar eclipse
On October 25, the second partial solar eclipse of 2022 will occur. It will be visible from most of Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, and the western part of Asia. It will be best seen from central Russia with about 75% coverage of the Sun’s disk.
November 8: Total lunar eclipse
On November 8, the second total lunar eclipse of 2022 will occur. This time, the eclipse will be visible throughout eastern Russia, Japan, Australia, and parts of western and central North America. To learn whether an eclipse is visible from your location, use our Eclipse Guide app.
December 14: Geminid meteor shower
The Geminids are a major meteor stream that can produce up to 150 meteors per hour. The Geminid meteors are very bright and have a wide variety of colors: white, yellow, red, blue, and green. The radiant of the stream is located in the constellation Gemini. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you can start looking for meteors before midnight, as the radiant will be placed high in the sky starting from about 22:00 local time. Southern Hemisphere observers will have to wait until the middle of the night for meteors to appear.
Not to miss the spectacular astronomical events mentioned above, download Sky Tonight. This app has a built-in astronomical calendar where you can set notifications for any of the events you’re interested in.
NASA’s uncrewed mission Artemis 1 is aimed to pave the way for future exploration of the Moon. During the mission, the Orion spacecraft (launched by the super heavy-lift vehicle called Space Launch System) will spend six days in orbit around our natural satellite. If Artemis 1 is a success, the next mission — Artemis 2 — will be a crewed flight to the Moon’s orbit.
Artemis 1 is expected to launch no earlier than February 2022.
Another lunar mission planned to be launched next year is Luna 25 by the Russian space agency Roscosmos. It will be the first Russian mission to the Moon’s surface since Luna 24 in 1976. During the mission, the Luna 25 spacecraft will land near the lunar south pole at the Boguslavsky crater and study the composition of the polar regolith.
The launch of Luna 25 is scheduled for July 2022.
NASA’s mission Psyche was named after its object of study — the large metallic asteroid 16 Psyche located in the main asteroid belt. Scientists believe that this asteroid could be the iron core of a protoplanet the size of Mars. The Psyche spacecraft will enter the asteroid’s orbit and study its geology, shape, elemental composition, and other parameters. This mission is expected to increase our understanding of planetary formation.
Psyche is scheduled to launch in August 2022.
ExoMars is a joint program of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos. During the ExoMars 2022 mission, the Russian-built lander Kazachok will place ESA’s Rosalind Franklin rover on the surface of Mars. The rover’s main objective will be to look for signs of past life on the Red Planet.
The ExoMars 2022 mission is planned for launch in September 2022.
Thanks for reading this article! If you want to explore the night sky and always stay informed about the upcoming space-related events, download our stargazing apps — Sky Tonight and Star Walk 2. We wish you clear skies and happy observations!