Get a glimpse of the best upcoming sky-watching events, and gear up with our space collection! Get ready for springtime sky-watching action, and explore the wonders of the universe.
Mark your calendar ahead of time so you know exactly what to expect. This year the spring sky starts getting active with an Eta Aquarid meteor shower on May, followed by the Transit of Mercury on May 9. Let National Geographic help you prepare–grab a blanket, a telescope, and some friends to join you in keeping an eye on the sky.
Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower — May 6
Halley’s comet will rain down small sand-grained debris on the night of May 6 into the early morning hours of May 7, which will coincide with a new moon, making the sky dark enough to give sky-watchers a clear view of the meteors briskly moving overhead. Try our tabletop telescope, and let your curiosity guide you across the skies!
In the countryside of the Northern Hemisphere you can expect around 30 meteors per hour, and in the Southern Hemisphere a rate as high as 60.
Transit of Mercury— May 9
For the first time in ten years watch Mercury glide across the sun on Monday, May 9. It will take about a total of seven hours to make the trek across the solar disk. Keep your fingers crossed for clear skies, and have your equipment handy! The entire transit will be visible throughout most of the Americas and western Europe, as well as most of Africa and parts of Asia. The sun’s disk can be visible using a compact telescope such as our 70-mm Altazimuth Telescope–truly the ideal scope for family stargazing. It comes with a red-dot viewfinder, a star map, and Astro-CD Planisphere software to help you locate specific stars and planets.
Be sure to also mark your calendar for these upcoming sky-watching events later in the year:
Celestial Line-up August 23
Two of the brightest planets–Mars and Saturn, alongside Antares–will align come nightfall on August 23 and 24. The cosmic trio will form a vibrant orange-red vertical line low in the southwest evening sky that can be seen with compact binoculars. Ours fit perfectly in a backpack alongside your sky-watching essentials.
Venus Meets Jupiter August 27
In the western sky you can expect Venus and Jupiter to have a spectacularly close conjunction toward dusk.
Celebrate NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope with The Hubble Cosmos to explore the universe in which we live. Relive key moments in the monumental Hubble story, and learn the latest new discoveries. With more than 170 notable photographs, The Hubble Cosmos shows how this telescope is revolutionizing our understanding of the universe. For an interactive experience, check out our Hubble’s Cosmic Journey DVD to get a glimpse of the remarkable advances in modern technology, as told by the people who designed, built, launched, operated, and repaired the legendary observatory.
Get inspired this sky-watching season with our Into the Cosmos Pinterest board or our handpicked collection of books, DVDs, maps, and gadgets to put the wonders of outer space right at your fingertips.