The Ultimate Almanac

Rare, unusual and/or spectacular sky events in the 21st century

Glorious events that already happened

Date Event Where Next References
2006
May
One fragment of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 could become bright - fragment C could reach 1st or 2nd mag. ? ? Hönig1
2006
Aug. 26
Close conjunction of Venus and Saturn, minimum separation 4 arc min (also in 2016, 2037, 2048, 2080 and 2096). ? 10 Fischer3
2007
Sep. 24
Transit of minor planet (2101) Adonis in front of the solar disk as seen from Earth - with a diameter of 0.005 arc sec ... Europe, Africa ? Meeus2, Wikipedia
2008
Aug. 16
Planet triangle of Mercury, Venus & Saturn within 2.3°, nice in the evening sky (also 2044, 2060, 2073). Near equator 36 Fischer3
2009
March 27
Venus can be seen naked-eye during inferior conjunction, because it is 8.2° north of the Sun (every 8 years; angular distance increasing throughout century). Northern hemisphere 8 Flannery1
2009
July 22
Longest Total Solar Eclipse for over a century and the longest one since 1991. China 123 Williams
2009
Nov. 17
Interesting outburst of the Leonid meteors, with a possible max. ZHR of 600 at 22:00 UTC. Asia ? Vaubaillon2
2010
Jan. 15
Longest annular solar eclipse until 3043, with a maximum duration of 11 min 8 sec. Africa, Asia 1033 Gill1, Map
2011
May 16
Four naked-eye planets close together, Mercury, Venus, Mars & Jupiter within 5 degrees - well visible in the morning skies Southern hemisphere (29) Fischer3
2011
Oct. 8
Possible big outburst of the Draconid meteors, could approach 1933 storm ... ? ? Vaubaillon
2012
June 6
Transit of Venus, 2nd of the pair in the 21st century. Mostly Asia, Australia 105 Espenak
2013
May 26
Planet triangle of Mercury, Venus & Jupiter within 2.9°, nice in the evening sky (also 2011, 2048 and 2060). Northern hemisphere -2 Fischer3
2013
Nov. 3
Hybrid solar eclipse with the longest totality until 3264, reaching 1 min 40 sec. Central Africa 1351 Gill1, Map
2014
Mar. 20
Occultation of 1 mag. star Regulus by asteroid (163) Erigone, maximum duration 14 seconds. North America 9 Denissenko
2014
Apr. 14
Best 'pseudo-conjunction' of the totally eclipsed moon with a bright object in centuries when Spica is just 1½° from the Moon. North America and more? 496 Rao1
2014
Apr. 29
Most bizarre solar eclipse of the century, a noncentral antumbral eclipse that can be seen as a ring only in a tiny area on Earth - and only thanks to refraction. Antarctica ? Harrington1: p. 194-6, Fischer3
2016
Aug. 27
Close Venus / Jupiter conjunction, minimum separation 4 arc min (others in 2080, 2082 and 2097 - and in 2065 Venus overlaps Jupiter). ? 49 Fischer3
2017
Aug. 21
Total Solar Eclipse in North America, the first in the contiguous U.S. since 1979. USA 7 Espenak, Harrington1: p. 208-13
2017
Sep. 16
Close conjunction of Mercury & Mars, minimum separation 4 arc min (also 2032, 2036, 2068 and 2094 - and they will overlap in 2079). ? 15 Fischer3
2018
July 27
Particularly close opposition of Mars, with the disk reaching 24.3 arc sec. Globe 32 MLN
2018
X-mas
Comet Wirtanen close to Earth, could reach 3rd mag. Globe ? The Comet's Tale (p. 8)
2019
July 2
A total solar eclipse passes over two big observatories in Chile. South America ? Sutton1, Map
2020
Mar. 28
Planet triangle of Mars, Jupiter & Saturn within 4.3° - well visible far from the Sun (also 2040, 2060, 2100). ? 20 Fischer3
2020
Dec. 21
Close conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn, minimum separation 6 arc min (also 2080). ? 60 Fischer3
2021
Jan. 10
Planet triangle of Mercury, Jupiter & Saturn within 2.1°, low in the evening sky (also 2060). ? 39 Fischer3
2023
Dec. 12
Occultation of Alpha Orionis by asteroid (319) Leona - which has practically the same angular diameter as the 0.5 mag. star! Mediterranean etc. ? Denissenko
2024
Apr. 8
Total Solar Eclipse in North America, less than 7 years after the last one. Mexico, USA 20 Map
2026
Aug. 12
Sunset total solar eclipse in Southwestern Europe, e.g. on Mallorca - will the millions of drunken tourists notice? :-) N.E. Russia, Arctic, Spain (55) Espenak
2027
Aug. 2
Another very long Total Solar Eclipse, Saros successor of the Chinese one in 2009. North Africa, Middle East (18) Map
2027
Aug. 7
Earth grazer 1999 AN10 passes close to Earth, minimum separation 400,000 km, max. mag. 7.4. Americas mainly 2 jlx1
2028
April 2
Venus marches through the Pleiades star cluster (also in 2036 and 2044). Globe 8 Dorst1
2028
Jun. 26
Earth grazer 2001 WN5 passes close to Earth, minimum separation 250,000 km, max. mag. 6.8. South America ? jlx1
2028
Aug. 12
Possibility of a strong outburst of the Perseids, perhaps at storm level. ? ? CBA Belgium, Space.com
2029
Apr. 13
NEO makes bright Earth fly-by when 2004 MN4 could reach 3rd mag., move 42°/hour. Global ? NEO News, S&T
2032
Jun. 15
Planet triangle of Venus, Mars & Saturn within 4.1°, very close to the Sun (also 2040). ? 8 Fischer3
2034
Nov. 19
Potentially two Leonid meteor storms, "for sure [...] an incredible year" with ZHR > 1000 - or just a max. ZHR of 800 to 900 at 6:00 UTC? ? ? Vaubaillon1 vs. Maslov1
2036
Jul. 22
Particulary small planet triangle, of Mercury, Mars & Saturn within 1.2°, nice in the evening sky (also 2032, 2062 and 2066). Northern hemisphere (-4) Fischer3
2037
Sep. 15
Very close conjunction of Mercury and Saturn, minimum separation 33 arc sec! ? (59) Fischer3
2040
Sep. 8
Tight 'massing' of all bright planets East of the Sun in an arc of only 9.3° - twice as close as the massing of May 2000 and visible in the evening skies. Equator, southern hemisphere ? Griffith Obs., Curtis, Peuschel, Fischer1
2044
Aug. 23
Total Solar Eclipse in North America, first in a rare pair of two only one year apart. USA, Canada 1 Map
2044
Oct. 1
Occultation of the bright star Regulus by Venus, a true rarity. Asia, Western U.S. ? Meeus1
2045
Aug. 12
Total Solar Eclipse in North and South America, just one year after the last in the U.S. - and very long (Saros successor of 2009/27)! USA, Brazil 54 Map
2050
May 6
Occultation by 2 mag. star Zubenelgenubi by the totally eclipsed Moon, the only occultation of a star brighter than 3rd mag. during a TLE since 2004! Antarctica ... 19 Dunham, Curtis
2050
Aug. 15
Especially close opposition of Mars, approaching Earth to less than 56 Mio. km for the 1st time in 47 years. Globe ? MLN
2051
Aug. 29
Planet triangle of Venus, Mars & Jupiter within 2.7°, close to the Sun (also 2040). ? -11 Fischer3
2051
Dec. 18
Close conjunction of Mars & Jupiter, minimum separation 2 arc min (also in 2064). ? 15 Fischer3
2052
Dec. 6
Closest approach of the Moon to the Earth in the 21st century, with 356,421 km between their centers. Globe ? Meeus1
2053
Nov. 24
Particularly small planet triangle, of Mercury, Mars & Jupiter within 1.0° - and well visible in the morning sky (also 2051, 2098, 2100). Northern hemisphere (-2) Fischer3
2056
Jan. 24
Close approach of asteroid (433) Eros to Earth, 22.4 million km minimum distance. ? ? Meeus1
2056
Feb. 13
Simultaneous occultation of Mercury and Mars by the Moon. North America ? Meeus1
2058
Jan. 10
Close conjunction of Venus and Mars, minimum separation 4 arc min (also 2090 and 2096). ? 32 Fischer3
2059
May 7
Close conjunction of Mercury & Jupiter, minimum separation 2 arc min. ? 35 Fischer3
2060
1st July week
Massing of the five naked-eye planets in the morning sky - first such show for Northern hemisphere in 58 years. N. hemisphere ? Fischer2
2061
July 29
Halley's comet closest to Earth at 0.48 AU, not a good apparition in general, but could reach 2nd mag. again as in 1986. ? 73 Kronk
2064
Nov. 5/6
Close approach of comet Tempel-Tuttle to Earth: The parent of the Leonids may approach to within 9 million kilometers. ? ? Eberle1 (questioned by Gabel)
2065
Nov. 22
Venus occults Jupiter, planets 10 and 29 arc sec, min. sep. 14 arc sec - the first planet vs. planet event since Venus occulted Jupiter in 1818! 10 degrees from the Sun. Panama, just before sunrise (best at 97°W 19°N) ? Bogan, Peuschel, Fischer3
2067
July 15
Mercury occults Neptune, planets 6 and 2 arc sec, minimum separation 10 arc sec. North Pole, daylight 12 Bogan, Peuschel
2069
May 6
Occultation by 2 mag. star Zubenelgenubi by the totally eclipsed Moon, much better observable than the 2050 event (and thus the first good TLE occultation of a bright star in 65 years). S. Pacific, S. America ? Dunham, Curtis
2075
May 26
Planet triangle of Mercury, Venus & Mars within 3.1°, nice in the morning sky (also 2011, 2088). Northern hemisphere -64 Fischer3
2079
Aug. 11
Mercury occults Mars, planets 5 and 4 arc sec, minimum separation 1 arc sec - and this is well visible (only good planet-planet occ. in the century)! Middle East ? Bogan, Curtis
2080
Feb. 19
Planet triangle of Venus, Jupiter & Saturn within 1.9°, far from the Sun (also 2100). ? 20 Fischer3
2081
Sep. 3
Total Solar Eclipse in Europe and the Middle East, the first touching Germany since 1999 - and a very long one (Saros successor of 2009/27/45). France, Germany, Turkey etc. (7) Map
2084
June 13
Close conjunction of Mars & Saturn (only one in 21st century), minimum separation 5 arc min. ? ? Fischer3
2088
Apr. 21
Total Solar Eclipse in S.E. Europe (and N. Africa and Central Asia), just 7 years after the last one in Europe. Greece, Turkey, Kasachstan ? Map
2088
Oct. 27
Mercury occults Jupiter, planets 5 and 29 arc sec, minimum sep. 19". Too close to Sun 6 Bogan
2094
Apr. 7
Mercury occults Jupiter, planets 5 and 31 arc sec, minimum separation 6 arc sec. Too close to Sun ? Bogan, Fischer3, vanGent1
2099
Sep. 14
Total Solar Eclipse in North America. Canada, USA ? Map
2100
Mar. 24
Polaris closest to North celestial pole, at a declination of +89° 32' 51". globe 26K Meeus1

Where: Area(s) of best visibility
Next: In how many years does the same or a similar event take place?
References: Key web links or other references

Also check M. Peuschel's event listings!

The listed events are mostly alignments, conjunctions, transits, occultations and eclipses, involving two or more solar system bodies - and they are so rare that they happen on average less than once per decade. Not listed are most total and annular solar eclipses (too common :-), except for unusual circumstances (e.g. when they cross regions of the world where many eclipse chasers live, 'coming home', so to speak), lunar eclipses, transits of Mercury (also too common, sorry) and asteroidal occultations of stars fainter than 1st mag. or by small asteroids.

First posted Nov. 30 and Dec. 3, updated continuously since

More interesting events that should be included can be mailed to Daniel Fischer