The eclipse has frightened, confused, and excited mankind for millennia, but today we have more understanding of these awesome phenomena than ever. We no longer cower in its wake, but predict its very arrival to the minute; anxiously glassing the sky for a glimpse at its rare beauty. To ensure that you don't miss a moment of syzygy, find a telescope or binoculars with the proper filter and look to the heavens on these dates in 2012 ...
May 20: Annular Solar Eclipse
iOptron Solar 60 Telescope with Solar Filter and Electronic Eyepiece
June 4: Partial Lunar Eclipse
The first lunar eclipse will be visible to many more - almost everyone except for Africa, Europe, Greenland, and western Asia. Asia will not see the beginning of the eclipse, while most of the Americas will experience moonset before the eclipse is over. Have your telescope ready between 08:48:09 UT and 13:18:17 UT.
June 5 and 6: Transit of Venus
Without a doubt the year's most anticipated celestial event, the transit of Venus is not your typical eclipse. Instead of the moon coming between the Earth and Sun, Venus will be seen as a small black dot crossing the disc of the sun. It's been 8 years since such an event has occurred, but another won't come around again until the year 2117. Look to the sun (careful) at 22:09 UT - the passing will end at 04:49 UT, never to be seen again for over a century.
November 13: Total Solar Eclipse
Viewing for 2012's total solar eclipse isn't ideal. Most of its time will be spent over the South Pacific Ocean and will make no landfall but for northern Australia. If you're going to be in the South Pacific this summer, you lead a very privileged life, and you'll have to tell us all about this one. Everyone else ... sorry. Count on it starting across the Gulf of Carpentaria at 20:37 UT and ending 800 kilometers short of Chile at 23:48 UT.
November 28: Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
The final lunar eclipse of 2012 will be a deep one with a magnitude of 0.9155 perfectly visible to the naked eye. But, since it lasts from 12:14:58 UT through 16:51:02 UT, Eastern Canada and the USA will miss out since it begins after moonset. The Western half of the USA and Canada will have a phenomenal view.
Solar and Lunar Eclipse Resources:
- Universe Today: Top Astronomy Events
- NASA Eclipse Web Site
- Solar Eclipse of May 20, 2012
- June 2012 Lunar Eclipse
- Transit of Venus, 2012
- Solar Eclipse of November 13, 2012
- November 2012 Lunar Eclipse