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Total lunar eclipse
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The most spectacular astronomical events of 2022

These are the shooting stars, eclipses, meteor showers and planetary alignments to look out for this year

Written by
James Manning
,
Ellie Walker-Arnott
&
Ed Cunningham
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Whenever life down here on Planet Earth gets a bit too much, there’s something reassuring about being able to escape to the cosmos. Not literally, obviously (unless you’re Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk), but there’s still a certain escapist bliss in studying the night sky. From eclipses and shooting stars to meteor showers, planetary alignments and moon phases, space is the greatest show off Earth. 

Although pros will want to splash out on a fancy telescope, for most of us stargazing is free, infinitely rewarding and a great way to fill up all that free time we seem to have on our hands these days. If you can, it helps to find a spot far away from the light pollution of the city (here are the best stargazing spots in the UK and USA), but the brightest astronomical phenomena are easily visible from your local park or even your window – as long as it isn’t cloudy, of course.

This year you’ll be able to spot the regular meteor showers and full moons (each with its own name) as well as a total lunar eclipse and two spectacular solar eclipses. To help you spot shooting stars, see a ‘pink moon’ or tell your penumbral from your annular eclipses, we’ve pulled together a list of the upcoming astronomical events we’re excited about. Read on for the most jaw-dropping cosmic events of 2022. 

Celestial calendar 2022

April 16: Pink Moon

Before you get your hopes up, no the moon will not be turning pink. Sorry. The Pink Moon is so called by Native American tribes because of the arrival of a pink kind of flower, and it’s usually the first full moon of spring. It’s also been called the Fish Moon, Growing Moon and Egg Moon.

April 30: partial solar eclipse

A partial solar eclipse obviously isn’t quite as spectacular as a total solar eclipse, but it’s still pretty bloomin’ cool. It happens when part of the moon moves in front of the sun, temporarily blocking some of the sun’s light and leaving the Earth in partial shadow. If you live in south America, get your goggles out – this particular partial eclipse will best seen from southern Argentina. 

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November 8: Beaver Moon

November’s full moon is called the Beaver Moon (no sniggering, please) because in the Northern Hemisphere, this time of year is when beavers make their winter dams. It’s also been called a Frost Moon or Mourning Moon, as it’s the last full moon before the December solstice.

December 21: December solstice

In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the winter solstice, marking the shortest day of the year. In the Southern Hemisphere, the same day marks midsummer, or the longest day of the year. Either way, there’s only one direction of travel from here.

Where to stargaze?

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