2020 Sky and Space Calendar

January 5: Earth at perihelion, closest point to the Sun

January 8: Latest Sunrise

January 10-11: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (Not visible in Wisconsin, most of North America) 

January 25: Chinese New Year—Year of the Rat

February 18: Moon & Mars very close morning sky (Moon will occult, or cover, Mars for part of N. America)

February 29: Leap Day

March 8:   Spring ahead!  Daylight Saving Time begins

March 14: Pi Day and Einstein’s Birthday

March 18: 55th Anniversary of First Spacewalk—Russia’s Alexi Leonov

March 19:   Spring begins at 10:50 p.m. CDT

March 20:    Mars & Jupiter close in morning sky

March 24: Venus highest in evening sky, greatest elongation from the Sun

March 31:    Mars & Saturn close in morning sky

April 2-3: Venus & Pleiades star cluster

April 7: Biggest Full Moon of 2020 (Also called Supermoon)

April 11-17: 50th Anniversary of Apollo 13

April 22: 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

April 24: 30th Anniversary of Hubble Space Telescope 

May 1: Venus sets four hours after sunset 

May 21-23:    Venus & Mercury close in evening sky

May 31: Venus sets 30 minutes after sunset 

June 3: Venus at inferior conjunction—between Earth & Sun;     55th Anniversary of First American Spacewalk—Ed White

June 5-6: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (Not visible in Wisconsin, North America) 

June 17: Earliest Sunrise

June 18: Mars & Mercury—very close in evening sky

June 20:  Summer Solstice starts at 4:44 a.m. CDT

June 21: Annular Solar Eclipse: Africa, India, Asia

June 27: Latest Sunset

July: OSIRIS-Rex mission to Asteroid Bennu—sample collection (Returns to Earth 2023); ESA ExoMars Mission 2020 Launch (Rover lands February 2021); United Arab Emirates Mars Mission (Hope) Launch (Orbiter Science to start May 2021)

July 4:  Earth at aphelion, the farthest point from the Sun

July 4-5: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (Not visible in Wisconsin, North America)

July 13: Jupiter at opposition, opposite the Sun, up all night

July 17: NASA Mars 2020 Rover Launch (Lands February 18, 2021)

July 20:   Saturn at opposition

July 30: 410 years ago, Astronomer Galileo Galilei observes Saturn's Rings

August 11-13:   Perseid meteor shower peaks

August 13: Venus highest in morning sky, greatest elongation from the Sun

September 11: Neptune at opposition 

September 22:   Fall arrives with the autumnal equinox at 2:50 a.m. CDT

October 6: Mars closest to Earth (magnitude of -2.6, brighter than Jupiter, 3 times brighter than Sirius)

October 13:  Mars at opposition

October 30:  Uranus at opposition

November 2: 20th Anniversary of International Space Station (ISS) continuously occupied.

November 3: Fall back! Daylight Savings Time ends

November 30: Penumbral Eclipse of Moon—barely noticeable—1:32 a.m. to 5:53 a.m. CST.

December: Hayabusa 2—Japanese asteroid sample returns to Earth;  Launch of China’s Chang’e 5, Lunar Sample Return Mission

December 2: 25th Anniversary Launch of SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) (still working)  

December 7: Earliest Sunset

December 12-14:  Geminid meteor shower peaks

December 14: Total Solar Eclipse—Chile & Argentina

December 21: Jupiter & Saturn Great Conjunction--evening sky (their closest approach since 1623!);  Winter Solstice starts at 4:02 a.m. CST