It's an exciting year for stargazers! There are lots of opportunities to look up to the skies above and spot some wonders of the universe. What makes this year even more special for astronomers is that the 21st July 2019 will mark 50 years since Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the moon!
As for what stargazers can expect in 2019, we have meteor showers and planets to spot as well as plenty of beautiful constellations.
Keep an eye out for:
- The Super Full Moon on the 19th February, this is the biggest the moon will look from Earth this year so even those who don't have a telescope will be able to see it!
- The Lyrids Meteor Shower which will be best visible on the 22nd April.
- The Eta Aquariids Meteor Shower which will be best visible on the 6th May.
- The Blue Moon on the 18th May.
- Jupiter at opposition on the 10th June and Saturn at opposition on the 9th July. When a planet is directly opposite the Sun it is "at opposition". On these dates Jupiter and Saturn will also be at their closest to the Earth.
- The Delta Aquariids Meteor Shower which will be best visible on the 28th July.
- The Perseids Meteor Shower which will be best visible on the 13th August.
- The Orionids Meteor Shower which will be best visible on the 21st October.
- The Mercury transit on the 11th November. This is when Mercury passes directly between the Sun and Earth. If you're going to be spotting Mercury you'll need to use a filtered telescope. Remember not to look directly at the sun with a regular telescope or binoculars!
- The Leonids Meteor Shower which will be best visible on the 17th November.
- The Geminids Meteor Shower which will be best visible on the 14th December.
And, whether you're an expert stargazer in need of some more fascinating reading to quench your thirst for knowledge, a newbie looking to take up the hobby or have a stargazer in your life to buy for, we have some brilliant books for stargazers to keep you occupied in the daytime until the stars come out.
If you want to get into the brilliant hobby of stargazing then this comprehensive guide by DK is a must. Packed with useful images and diagrams and full to the brim with helpful information about all the main constellations, you will have no trouble becoming a stargazing expert.
This beautiful dot-to-dot book has a wonderful starry theme. By linking the dots you are piecing together the most well-known constellations. Plus, each of the 29 intricate designs is paired with a fact file all about that particular constellation. An absolute must for fans of art and the stars, this book will teach you all about the night sky in the most fun and unusual way.
This beautiful journal from Usborne allows stargazers to document what they've seen in the night sky. Featuring illustrations and interesting facts about the stars above us, this is the perfect gift for stargazers of all ages. There are also helpful links which will help you spot all the main constellations.
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich has created a beginners guide that will give novice stargazers all the advice and information they need to know. There are insights on what you can see with just your eyes and how to choose the right binoculars and telescopes for you as well as seasonal star charts so you know what you can spot when.
These books are aimed at children aged eight and up so if you've got a young stargazer in your family this collection should make for interesting reading for them. From the stunning constellations of the night sky to the strange effects of eclipses, these books contain loads of facts and insights into space and our natural world.
Uncover the history of lunar exploration and find out what equipment you need to see the moon close-up throughout its many phases. There's a profile of events to keep you in the loop of all major happenings with the moon so you know which nights you need to be getting your telescope prepared for. Stargazers may well be used to spotting constellations but the moon can be just as fascinating as the stars and the Greenwich's Royal Observatory has proved that with this book.
Nicola Edwards and Lucy Rose Cartwright
This large-format gift book is filled with beautiful illustrations and features details about night-time from constellations to look out for to traditions and superstitions around the world relating to sleep and the night time. This book is aimed at children aged 9+ but it will make for excellent reading for anyone with an interest in science, geography, history and, of course, astronomy and stargazing.
We hope you've found the perfect reads for stargazers of all ages in our range. Whether you were looking for a helpful guide to get your stargazing hobby started or a brilliant astronomical read for your kid, we hope you enjoy taking a look at the amazing sights the sky has to offer this year.