Full Moons, Eclipses, and Other Must-See Celestial Events in 2022

Here's what's been happening in the night sky, plus what cool sights are still to come.

Perseids and Milky Way
Photo: Getty Images

It's easy to get caught up in all the drama down here on Earth. Pandemics, Supreme Court decisions, your job. Meanwhile, there are spectacularly thrilling events happening waaaaay above our heads, up in space.

Why not take a look? You don't have to travel by rocket to get a charge from what's happening in the sky—meteor showers, eclipses, and even your monthly full moon are worth checking out.

Here are some exciting astronomical happenings from the year 2022, both past and future.

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January kicked off with the Quadrantids Meteor Shower, which looked like bright fireballs with short trains. The show actually lasted from December 12 to January 12, but it was most active on January 2-3. The following week, Earthlings got our best-time-of-the-year view of Mercury. The fastest planet (and the one closest to the sun) was at its highest point above Earth's horizon on the evening of January 7—and was best seen low in the western sky right after the sun set. The first full moon of the year arrived on January 17. Indigenous people have called it the Wolf Moon, because that's when the wolves were most hungry.

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The next full moon arrived on February 16. This month's full moon is called the "snow moon" (even if you live somewhere where the weather's warmer!).

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March's full moon, which arrived on March 18, is called the Worm Moon because that's when worms usually first reappeared in the spring. The Spring Equinox arrived on March 20, marking the day when night and day are nearly equal on most parts of the planet.

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April's full moon, which arrived on April 16, is nicknamed the Full Pink Moon. It's not necessarily pink on this day but got its name from the pink spring flowers that appeared at that time of year. Over April 21-22, the fireballs of the Lyrids Meteor Shower could viewed in the Northern Hemisphere. On April 30, residents of Antarctica and the southern tip of South America got a good view of a Partial Solar Eclipse.

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On May 6-7, the Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower was mostly visible in the Southern Hemisphere. The meteors (which come from Halley's Comet) were best viewed after midnight. On May 15, a Lunar Eclipse could be seen in most of the U.S., with the exception of the northwest. May's full moon (nicknamed the Full Flower Moon) arrived on May 16.

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June's full moon (on June 14) was a super moon–so close to the Earth that it looked larger and brighter than usual (and also called the Full Strawberry Moon). The Summer Solstice, on June 21, was the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere—and the shortest in the Southern Hemisphere. The Bootid Meteor Shower on June 27 started early in the evening in the Northern Hemisphere, producing long-ranging meteors.

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On July 4, Earth was at its farthest point from the sun all year. (Though you probably didn't notice!) The Full Buck Moon (also known as the Thunder Moon or Hay Moon) on July 13 was another super moon, appearing brighter and larger in the skies.

Here are upcoming events to look foward to in the 2022 sky.

July 28-29: The Delta Aquarids Meteor Shower will take place over several nights, but these are the best two. The best viewing will be after midnight.

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August 11: The Full Sturgeon Moon will be visible. Fun astronomical fact: In Saxon England, it was called the Weed Moon instead.

August 13: The Perseid Meteor Shower will be active from mid-July until the end of August, but this will be the peak day for viewing the meteors. Look to the skies shortly before dawn to get the best show.

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September 1: The Aurigid Meteor Shower is a week-long meteor shower, but it will be best viewed on September 1 shortly before dawn.

September 10: The Full Harvest Moon is visible. In Charlemagne's time, this was called the Wood Moon.

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October 9: The Full Hunter's Moon and the Draconid Meteor Shower will be visible on the same night. The full moon may drown out the meteor showers, making it harder to see the meteors as they streak across the sky.

October 21: The Orionid Meteor Shower is a month-long meteor shower that peaks on this day, with the best viewing at around 5 a.m.

October 25: A Partial Solar Eclipse will take place in Europe, Iceland, parts of northeastern Africa, and western Asia.

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November 8: The Full Beaver Moon and Lunar Eclipse will be easy to view in North America, starting at 3:01 a.m. ET.

November 12: The Northern Taurid Meteor Shower is a six-week spectacle, but you'll have your best displays around midnight on this day.

November 28: The Orionid Meteor Shower will be most visible at around 2 a.m. ET on this day.

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December 7: The Full Cold Moon will be visible. The name for this full moon is pretty self-explanatory!

December 9: The Moncerotid Meteor Shower is a two-week shower best viewed on this day, with the best display at 1 a.m. ET.

December 14: The Geminid Meteor Shower will peak around 2 a.m. ET, with short-trail meteors burning across the sky.

December 22: The Ursid Meteor Shower will produce its best show right before dawn.

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