2019 Sky Events

2019 is an unusual astronomical year , even for NASA. -JB

The 10 most noteworthy sky events. A total lunar eclipse, two close pairing-offs between the two brightest planets (Venus-Jupiter), a total solar eclipse for parts of Chile and Argentina and a rare transit of Mercury are among the celestial highlights that will take place in the new year.

Jan. 20: Total eclipse of the moon. Just 20 days into the New Year, a spectacular total lunar eclipse will occur over the Americas and Western Europe

Jan. 22: Venus and Jupiter, close embrace #1. Morning twilight crackles with the excitement of a close conjunction this morning between the two brightest planets. Venus will be passing 2.4 degrees to the upper left of Jupiter. Augmenting this display off to their right is the bright ruddy star, Antares

Feb. 18: Venus and Saturn. The goddess of love passes just over a degree to the upper left of the “lord of the rings” in this morning’s predawn sky; one of the closest bright planet conjunctions of 2019.

Feb. 19: Biggest “supermoon” of the year. On Feb. 19 at 4 a.m. EST, the moon will arrive at its closest point to the Earth in 2019: an extreme perigee distance of 221,681 miles (356,761 kilometers) away.

July 2: Total eclipse of the sun. This will be the first total eclipse of the sun since the Great American Total Eclipse of 2017, when the long, thin finger of the moon’s dark umbral shadow will again draw its tip – averaging 95 miles (150 kilometers) wide – across the Earth’s surface. But unlike in 2017, which offered a multitude of possibilities for land-based viewing, the 6,800-mile (11,000-kilometer) path of the 2019 eclipse is confined almost exclusively to the South Pacific Ocean. The total eclipse track begins at local sunrise, 2,175-miles (4,000-kilometers) east-northeast of Wellington, New Zealand.

Aug. 12-13: Perseid meteor shower. The Perseid meteor shower is considered to be among the best of the annual displays thanks to its high rates of up to 90 per hour for a single observer, as well as its reliability.

Nov. 11: Transit of Mercury (over the Sun). The beginning of the transit will be visible from the eastern third of North America, the southern third of Greenland, and all of Central and South America. This will be the last transit of Mercury available to North Americans until May 7, 2049.

Nov. 24: Venus and Jupiter, close embrace #2. Venus and Jupiter are very low in the southwest during the chilly November dusk. Their overtaking of each other this month occurs with a glorious conjunction that is further enlivened by background stars; for the second time this year these two bright luminaries have a rendezvous; the last was just over ten months ago in the morning sky. Back then they were separated by 2.5 degrees. This evening they’re even closer; Venus sits 1.4 degrees to Jupiter’s lower left.

Nov. 28: Majestic celestial summit meeting at dusk. Step outside about 45 minutes after sundown and look low near the southwest horizon. You’ll see Jupiter and to its upper left Venus. Just above Venus will be a hairline crescent moon, just 2.5 days past new. And finally, well to the upper left shines yet a third bright planet, Saturn.

Dec. 26: Annular eclipse of the sun. The final eclipse of 2019 will be an annular solar eclipse visible solely from the Eastern Hemisphere. North America will not see any part of it.


Venus-Jupiter Encounter May Explain Bible’s Star of Bethlehem

August 27, 2016



How often Venus and Jupiter come within 6 arc minutes of each other [appulse], in a dark or twilight sky as seen from North America?  We have to go as far back as Nov. 14. 1660, when the two planets were within 6 arc minutes as they rose above the eastern horizon a few hours before sunrise. Our next opportunity will come on the morning of Nov. 22, 2065, when Venus and Jupiter will be merged together as one brilliant singular point of light [occultation] as they rise above the east-southeast horizon just before sunrise.

Venus and Jupiter Occultations

Year Date/U.TIme Elongation
from the Sun
Venus, Jupiter Diameters
Geocentric Separation
2 BC 17 Jun 17:53 UT 45oW 26″,32″,28″ Very Large Elongation
Occurs over Middle East
1210 17 Sep 10:35 UT 7oW 10″,31″, 0″ Too Close to the Sun
Central occultation
1570 5 Feb 7:47 UT 25oW 11″,31″,18″ Occurred over South Atlantic, Argentina
No Historic Record
1818 3 Jan 21:51 UT 16oW 10″,30″,12″ Occurred over Far East
No History Record
Over Unpopulate Area
2065 22 Nov 12:47 UT 8oW 10″,29″,14″ Too Close to the Sun
2123 14 Sep 15:26 UT 16oE 10″,29″, 6″ Occurs over the Pacific Ocean


Appulse: There is no formal definition of how close two objects need to become for their close encounter (both longitude and latitude) to qualify as an appulse. On In-The-Sky.org, we list all appulses where planets or minor planets pass within one degree of each other.



Note: Venus-Jupiter conjunctions occur every year. However, an “appulse” (a longitude conjunction within 1 degree latitude) is a relatively rare event (last viewed in August 27, 2016 within 6 arc minutes; previously seen in 1660; next occultation [0 degree appulse] will occur on 2065 but will not be visible). Their astronomical significance, heralding the birth of Jesus of Nazareth in the quite visible Venus-Jupiter occultation of June 17, 2 B.C., may provide some hints about the physical reappearance of the Christ in the 21st century. The next visible occultation will occur in 2123. -JB

Author: jebmd

Editor, NGSM.org

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