Life on Planet Earth is kind of a lot right now – so it’s kind of reassuring that no matter what happens down here, space is going to keep doing its thing. And from where we’re standing, that means a whole lot of beauty: shooting stars, eclipses, meteor showers, planetary alignments, even the phases of the moon. It’s the greatest show off Earth, and there’s zero chance of it being cancelled.
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. It 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 ‘blue moon’ or tell your penumbral from your annular eclipses, we’ve pulled together a list of the upcoming astronomical events we’re excited about. Because in 2021, looking up is the new going out.