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Astronomical events in 2016

A month by month listing of major moon phases, conjunctions, oppositions, meteor showers and other important dates, from astronomer Fred Espenak.

View larger. | As January, 2016, opens, there are four planets in the predawn sky.  Ben Zavala caught them on January 4, 2015.  Thanks, Ben!

View larger. | As January, 2016, opens, there are four planets in the predawn sky. Ben Zavala caught them on January 4, 2015. Soon, there will be five planets visible simultaneously before dawn, for the first time since 2005. Thanks, Ben!

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

JANUARY, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Jan 02 05:30 LAST QUARTER MOON (pronounced neap tides)
Jan 02 11:53 Moon farthest from Earth (apogee): 251,207 miles (404,279 km)
Jan 02 23 Earth closest to sun (perihelion): 91,403,445 miles (147,099,586 km, 0.98330 AU)
Jan 03 03:35 Spica 4.7°S of moon
Jan 03 18:45 Mars 1.5°S of moon
Jan 04 08 Quadrantid meteor shower
Jan 06 23:57 Venus 3.1°S of moon
Jan 07 04:57 Saturn 3.3°S of moon
Jan 07 11:34 Venus 6.3°N of Antares
Jan 08 18 Mercury closest to sun (perihelion)
Jan 10 01:30 NEW MOON
Jan 14 14 Mercury at inferior conjunction
Jan 14 15:48 Moon at descending node
Jan 15 02:10 Moon closest to Earth (perigee): 369,619 km
Jan 16 23:26 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Jan 20 02:16 Aldebaran 0.5°S of moon
Jan 24 01:46 FULL MOON
Jan 26 05:10 Regulus 2.5°N of moon
Jan 27 23:58 Moon at ascending node
Jan 28 01:14 Jupiter 1.4°N of moon (closest from North America on January 27)
Jan 30 09:10 Moon farthest from Earth (apogee): 404,553 km
Jan 30 11:35 Spica 5.0°S of moon

IC1805 aka the Heart Nebula via Justin Ng.  See it larger at his website.

IC1805 aka the Heart Nebula via Justin Ng. See it larger at his website.

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

FEBRUARY, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Feb 01 03:28 LAST QUARTER MOON
Feb 01 08:48 Mars 2.7°S of moon
Feb 03 19:05 Saturn 3.5°S of moon
Feb 06 07:32 Venus 4.3°S of moon
Feb 06 16:47 Mercury 3.8°S of moon
Feb 07 01 Mercury at greatest elongation: 25.6°W
Feb 08 14:39 NEW MOON
Feb 10 20:46 Moon at descending node
Feb 11 02:42 Moon at perigee: 364358 km
Feb 13 03 Mercury 4.0° of Venus
Feb 15 07:46 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Feb 16 07:41 Aldebaran 0.3°S of moon
Feb 21 17 Mercury at aphelion
Feb 22 12:48 Regulus 2.5°N of moon
Feb 22 18:20 FULL MOON
Feb 24 03:58 Jupiter 1.7°N of moon
Feb 24 06:10 Moon at ascending node
Feb 26 19:05 Spica 5.1°S of moon
Feb 27 03:28 Moon at apogee: 405383 km
Feb 28 15 Neptune in conjunction with sun
Feb 29 18:16 Mars 3.6°S of moon

Total solar eclipse of March 20, 2015 as seen by Halda Mohammed in the Faroe Islands.

Total solar eclipse of March 20, 2015 as seen by Halda Mohammed in the Faroe Islands.

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

MARCH, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Mar 01 23:11 LAST QUARTER MOON
Mar 02 06:53 Saturn 3.6°S of moon
Mar 07 10:54 Venus 3.5°S of moon
Mar 08 10 Jupiter at opposition
Mar 09 01:54 NEW MOON
Mar 09 01:57 Total solar eclipse; mag=1.045
Mar 09 06:31 Moon at descending node
Mar 10 07:02 Moon at perigee: 359509 km
Mar 14 13:44 Aldebaran 0.3°S of moon
Mar 15 17:03 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Mar 20 04:31 Vernal equinox
Mar 20 14 Venus at aphelion
Mar 20 19:05 Regulus 2.5°N of moon
Mar 22 03:57 Jupiter 2.1°N of moon
Mar 22 12:59 Moon at ascending node
Mar 23 11:47 Penumbral lunar eclipse; mag=0.775
Mar 23 12:01 FULL MOON
Mar 23 20 Mercury at superior conjunction
Mar 25 01:50 Spica 5.1°S of moon
Mar 25 14:16 Moon at apogee: 406125 km
Mar 28 18:45 Mars 4.2°S of moon
Mar 29 14:58 Saturn 3.5°S of moon
Mar 31 15:17 LAST QUARTER MOON

View larger. | Meteor over the Montana Rockies by John Ashley.  Photo taken April 21, 2015.

View larger. | Meteor over the Montana Rockies by John Ashley. Photo taken April 21, 2015.

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

APRIL, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Apr 05 17 Mercury at perihelion
Apr 05 17:27 Moon at descending node
Apr 06 08:30 Venus 0.7°S of moon: occultation
Apr 07 11:24 NEW MOON
Apr 07 17:36 Moon at perigee: 357164 km
Apr 08 10:35 Mercury 5.2°N of moon
Apr 09 21 Uranus in conjunction with sun
Apr 10 22:05 Aldebaran 0.4°S of moon
Apr 14 03:59 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Apr 17 00:46 Regulus 2.5°N of moon
Apr 18 04:42 Jupiter 2.2°N of moon
Apr 18 14 Mercury at greatest elongation: 19.9°E
Apr 18 18:04 Moon at ascending node
Apr 21 07:59 Spica 5.1°S of moon
Apr 21 16:05 Moon at apogee: 406352 km
Apr 22 05:24 FULL MOON
Apr 22 05 Lyrid meteor shower
Apr 25 04:13 Mars 4.9°S of moon
Apr 25 19:28 Saturn 3.3°S of moon
Apr 27 13:51 Mars 4.8°N of Antares
Apr 28 08:14 Mercury 3.0°S of Pleiades
Apr 30 03:29 LAST QUARTER MOON

Stars and planets overhead competing with lights on the ground in Louisville, Kentucky - May 21, 2015 - from our friend Duke Marsh.  Thanks, Duke!

Stars and planets overhead competing with lights on the ground in Louisville, Kentucky – May 21, 2015 – from our friend Duke Marsh. Thanks, Duke!

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

MAY, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
May 03 01:27 Moon at descending node
May 04 19 Eta-Aquarid meteor shower
May 06 04:14 Moon at perigee:357828 km (shortest lunar month of 2016 begins)
May 06 19:30 NEW MOON
May 08 08:21 Aldebaran 0.5°S of moon
May 09 15 Mercury at inferior conjunction
May 09 15 Transit of Mercury across sun
May 13 17:02 FIRST QUARTER MOON
May 14 07:06 Regulus 2.3°N of moon
May 15 09:30 Jupiter 2.0°N of moon
May 15 20:39 Moon at ascending node
May 18 14:07 Spica 5.1°S of Moon
May 18 22:06 Moon at apogee: 405934 km
May 21 21:15 FULL MOON (a seasonal Blue Moon)
May 22 11 Mars at opposition
May 22 21:59 Saturn 3.2°S of moon (chart here)
May 29 12:12 LAST QUARTER MOON
May 30 04:45 Moon at descending node

Alexander Kozik in California caught Earth's shadow as the almost-full moon rose on June 1, 2015.

Alexander Kozik in California caught Earth’s shadow as the almost-full moon rose on June 1, 2015.

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

JUNE, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Jun 03 06 Saturn at opposition
Jun 03 09:47 Mercury 0.7°N of moon: occultation
Jun 03 10:55 Moon at perigee: 361142 km
Jun 05 03:00 NEW MOON
Jun 05 09 Mercury at greatest elongation: 24.2°W
Jun 06 22 Venus at superior conjunction
Jun 10 14:47 Regulus 2.0°N of moon
Jun 11 19:35 Jupiter 1.5°N of moon
Jun 11 22:20 Moon at ascending node
Jun 12 08:10 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Jun 13 10:06 Mercury 6.4°S of Pleiades
Jun 14 20:47 Spica 5.3°S of moon
Jun 15 12:00 Moon at apogee: 405022 km
Jun 19 00:40 Saturn 3.3°S of moon
Jun 19 03:39 Mercury 3.7°N of Aldebaran
Jun 20 11:02 FULL MOON
Jun 20 22:35 Summer solstice
Jun 26 05:28 Moon at descending node
Jun 27 18:19 LAST QUARTER MOON

View larger. | Comet C2014 Q1 (PANSTARRS) Colin Legg on July 15, 2015, from Australia.

View larger. | Comet C2014 Q1 (PANSTARRS) Colin Legg on July 15, 2015, from Australia.

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

JULY, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Jul 01 06:45 Moon at perigee: 365983 km
Jul 02 03:58 Aldebaran 0.4°S of moon
Jul 02 16 Mercury at perihelion
Jul 04 11:01 NEW MOON
Jul 04 16 Earth at aphelion: 1.01675 AU
Jul 07 03 Mercury at superior conjunction
Jul 07 23:33 Regulus 1.8°N of moon
Jul 09 01:41 Moon at ascending node
Jul 09 10:08 Jupiter 0.9°N of moon: occultation
Jul 10 23 Venus at perihelion
Jul 12 00:52 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Jul 12 04:13 Spica 5.6°S of Moon
Jul 13 05:24 Moon at apogee: 404272 km
Jul 16 05:11 Saturn 3.4°S of moon
Jul 19 22:57 FULL MOON
Jul 23 07:49 Moon at descending node
Jul 26 23:00 LAST QUARTER MOON
Jul 27 11:25 Moon at perigee: 369659 km
Jul 27 21 Delta-Aquarid meteor shower
Jul 29 10:53 Aldebaran 0.3°S of moon
Jul 30 15:55 Mercury 0.3°N of Regulus

View larger. Dylan Martin tells us,

View larger. | Dylan Martin told us, “This is a composite photo of the Perseid meteor shower – 13 images, taken over the span of 2 hours during the early morning of August 13, 2015 – out at Tucson Mountain Park.” Thank you Dylan!

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

AUGUST, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Aug 02 20:45 NEW MOON
Aug 04 06:19 Venus 2.9°N of moon
Aug 04 22:12 Mercury 0.6°N of moon: occultation
Aug 05 07:48 Moon at Ascending Node
Aug 05 11:57 Venus 1.0°N of Regulus
Aug 06 03:28 Jupiter 0.2°N of moon: occultation
Aug 08 12:08 Spica 5.8°S of moon
Aug 10 00:05 Moon at apogee: 404266 km
Aug 10 18:21 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Aug 12 12:10 Saturn 3.7°S of moon
Aug 12 12 Perseid meteor shower
Aug 15 16 Mercury at aphelion
Aug 16 21 Mercury at greatest elongation: 27.4°E
Aug 18 09:27 FULL MOON
Aug 19 14:14 Moon at descending node
Aug 20 06 Mercury 3.8° of Jupiter
Aug 22 01:20 Moon at perigee: 367047 km
Aug 24 05:09 Mars 1.8°N of Antares
Aug 25 03:41 LAST QUARTER MOON
Aug 25 16:21 Aldebaran 0.2°S of moon
Aug 28 20 Mercury 5.0° of Venus

“The brightest auroras I have ever seen in my life! This night was epic!” said Ruslan Merzlyakov in Nykøbing Mors, Denmark, in September, 2015.

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

SEPTEMBER, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Sep 01 09:03 NEW MOON
Sep 01 09:07 Annular solar eclipse; mag=0.974
Sep 01 15:27 Moon at ascending node
Sep 02 15 Neptune at opposition
Sep 03 10:33 Venus 1.1°S of moon: occultation
Sep 04 19:56 Spica 5.8°S of moon
Sep 04 20:05 Saturn 5.9°N of Antares
Sep 06 18:44 Moon at apogee: 405059 km
Sep 08 21:23 Saturn 3.8°S of moon
Sep 09 11:49 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Sep 13 00 Mercury at inferior conjunction
Sep 15 23:55 Moon at descending node
Sep 16 18:54 Penumbral lunar eclipse; mag=0.908
Sep 16 19:05 FULL MOON
Sep 18 15:15 Venus 2.2°N of Spica
Sep 18 17:00 Moon at perigee: 361894 km
Sep 21 22:13 Aldebaran 0.2°S of moon
Sep 22 14:21 Autumnal equinox
Sep 23 09:56 LAST QUARTER MOON
Sep 26 06 Jupiter in conjunction with sun
Sep 27 22:32 Regulus 1.7°N of moon
Sep 28 15 Mercury at perihelion
Sep 28 19 Mercury at greatest elongation: 17.9°W
Sep 28 22:06 Moon at ascending node
Sep 29 10:42 Mercury 0.7°N of moon: occultation

As seen from Australia on the morning of October 9, the moon passed in front of Venus.  Colin Legg caught this shot at Bremer Bay and wrote:

As seen from Australia on the morning of October 9, 2015, the moon passed in front of Venus. Colin Legg caught this shot at Bremer Bay, Australia. Read more at Colin’s Facebook page.

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

OCTOBER, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Oct 01 00:12 NEW MOON
Oct 03 17:30 Venus 5.0°S of moon
Oct 04 11:02 Moon at apogee: 406100 km
Oct 06 08:04 Saturn 3.8°S of moon
Oct 09 04:33 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Oct 13 09:43 Moon at descending node
Oct 15 10 Uranus at opposition
Oct 16 04:23 FULL MOON
Oct 16 23:36 Moon at perigee: 357860 km
Oct 19 06:18 Aldebaran 0.3°S of moon
Oct 21 05 Orionid meteor shower
Oct 22 19:14 LAST QUARTER MOON
Oct 25 04:01 Regulus 1.6°N of moon
Oct 26 01:44 Moon at ascending node
Oct 26 10:56 Venus 3.0°N of Antares
Oct 27 16 Mercury at superior conjunction
Oct 28 09:33 Jupiter 1.4°S of moon
Oct 29 12 Mars at perihelion
Oct 30 17:38 NEW MOON
Oct 31 19:29 Moon at apogee: 406660 km

View larger. | 2015 Taurid fireball leaves a puff of dust.  Captured by Adam Trenholm.

View larger. | 2015 Taurid fireball leaves a puff of dust. These annual fireballs put on an amazing display for much of November, 2015. Captured by Adam Trenholm.

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.
NOVEMBER, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Nov 02 19:38 Saturn 3.7°S of moon
Nov 05 05 S Taurid meteor shower
Nov 06 12:07 Mars 5.3°S of moon
Nov 07 19:51 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Nov 09 15:57 Moon at descending node
Nov 12 04 N Taurid meteor shower
Nov 14 11:23 Moon at perigee: 356512 km
Nov 14 13:52 FULL MOON
Nov 15 16:50 Aldebaran 0.4°S of moon
Nov 17 11 Leonid meteor shower
Nov 19 17:51 Beehive 4.3°N of moon
Nov 21 08:33 LAST QUARTER MOON
Nov 21 10:08 Regulus 1.3°N of moon
Nov 22 02:48 Moon at ascending node
Nov 23 19 Mercury 3.4° of Saturn
Nov 25 01:47 Jupiter 1.9°S of moon
Nov 27 20:08 Moon at apogee: 406556 km
Nov 29 12:18 NEW MOON

Susan Jensen in Odessa, Washington caught this photo of the moon and Jupiter on December 30, 2015.  Thanks, Susan!

Susan Jensen in Odessa, Washington caught this photo of the moon and Jupiter on December 30, 2015. Thanks, Susan!

All times in UTC, the time standard commonly used by nations across the world. Translate to your timezone here.

DECEMBER, 2016
DATE….TIME…EVENT
Dec 03 12:34 Venus 5.8°S of moon
Dec 05 10:39 Mars 2.9°S of moon
Dec 06 17:35 Moon at descending node
Dec 07 09:03 FIRST QUARTER MOON
Dec 10 11 Saturn in conjunction with sun
Dec 11 04 Mercury at greatest elongation: 20.8°E
Dec 12 23:27 Moon at perigee: 358463 km
Dec 13 04:14 Aldebaran 0.5°S of Moon
Dec 14 00 Geminid meteor shower
Dec 14 00:06 FULL MOON
Dec 17 03:17 Beehive 4.1°N of moon
Dec 18 18:13 Regulus 1.0°N of moon
Dec 19 04:46 Moon at ascending node
Dec 21 01:56 LAST QUARTER MOON
Dec 21 10:45 Winter solstice
Dec 22 08 Ursid meteor shower
Dec 22 16:37 Jupiter 2.4°S of moon
Dec 25 05:55 Moon at apogee: 405870 km
Dec 25 15 Mercury at perihelion
Dec 28 19 Mercury at inferior conjunction
Dec 29 06:53 NEW MOON

Bottom line: Astronomical events in 2016, including moon phases, conjunction and oppositions of planets, meteor showers and other important dates.

Fred Espenak

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