10 Exceptional And Most Unique Astronomical Events Of All Time
In a nutshell, space is honestly mindblowing. Even though we’ve made so much progress in finding out more about the unknown, our universe is still full of many hidden secrets that we’ve yet to find out. Although we haven’t figured it all out, there’s a tonne of information available to us already. But let’s focus on the most exciting aspects! One of the most fascinating things about space is the astronomical changes that are constantly happening. They include the movement of planets, gravitational force, and changing star systems.
The best part about all of this is that some of them can actually be observed with the naked eye! And many of them withstand the test of time as well, happening after centuries. We’ve narrowed the list down to 10 of the most amazing astronomical events that we were blessed to witness so far. Let’s start!
10. TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE
This is honestly one of the most mesmerizing astronomical events to take place and the rarity of it occurring makes it that much more special. The last time the phenomena happened was all the way back in November 2012 - and we won’t be seeing another one anytime soon. Scientists have predicted that the next one will occur in about 138 years… We know - you’re probably feeling depressed now if you’ve missed the 2012 eclipse. We are too.
So, what exactly happens in this scenario?
The total solar eclipse, which is also called the Umbra, occurs when the moon is 400 times closer to the sun. As a result, the moon ends up covering the entire sun, forming that beautiful crescent image. The longest it usually lasts is somewhere around 7.5 minutes. The most noticeable effect of the total solar eclipse is how it changes the atmosphere. The air temperature drops dramatically, immediately making the area darker.
9. BLUE MOON
This is a full moon phenomenon which, thankfully, happens way more often. So if you missed your chance at witnessing the total solar eclipse - have no fear. Here’s one of the other coolest events to take place. The occurrence was titled ‘blue moon,’ thanks to the specific particles in the environment that give the full moon a blue color - including dust, or smoke. However, this particular blue moon is an infrequent occurrence, and the last time it happened was in 1883 when a volcano exploded in Krakatoa. Since the atmosphere was filled with dense ash during that time, the reaction caused the moon to turn blue.
The second definition of a blue moon, which is witnessed far more often, is the event that’s caused by imperfect sync between the lunar cycle and the calendar year. This phenomenon happens twice in one month!
8. VENUS TRANSITION
Another amazing event, which happens pretty often as well, is the Venus Transition. In fact, it occurred 53 times between 2000 BC and 2004! However, out of the 53 times, its only been observed six times - in 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874, 1882 and finally, the last time was in 2004. In this phenomenon, the planet Venus travels between Sun and Earth, and from Earth, it looks like a black spot.
7. GREAT WHITE THUNDERSTORM
Great white thunderstorms happen about every 30 years. It takes place in the Northern hemisphere on the mysterious planet Saturn. Basically, its a massive storm with ten lightning strikes occurring every second! Once the storm has been condensed, it ends up turning into a thunderstorm. What does this exactly mean? Imagine your typical Earth thunderstorm, but 10 thousand times stronger … This is basically heaven for us storm lovers, so make sure to keep an eye out for this one if you’re a fan!
6. PLANETARY ALIGNMENT
This is one of the rarest astronomical occurrences. Space scientists have confirmed that the next alignment - Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Moon - will happen in 2040. Not to pour salt on your wound if you’ve missed it, but the last one occurred back in May 2011. It’s still a long way to go, but at least most of us will have the chance to witness it in our lifetime!
5. COMET ISON
Comet ISON on the 21st of Nov 2013.— Con Stoitsis (@vivstoitsis) June 12, 2018
This was one of the best images obtained by Gerald Rhemann before it disintegrated. Some estimates at the time had the comet brightening to magnitude-2.0! pic.twitter.com/5MATFyjtD4
It’s been named the comet of the century. Comet ISON, which also goes by the title of a sun-grazing comet, formed initially from the Oort cloud - basically, it came from the edge of the solar system. A super rare phenomenon that was discovered by two Russian astronomers on September 12th, 2012, comet ISON unfortunately banished on November 28th, 2013.
4. HALLEY’S COMET
Discovered by Edmund Halley (hence the name) in 1531, Halley’s comet is a periodic comet that orbits the sun after every 75 years, in something called elliptical orbits. It can easily be seen from Earth with the naked eye as well since the comet gets illuminated by the Sun’s reflection. The last time the comet visited was back in 1986 and is planned to return in 2061.
3. HALE-BOPP COMET
Discovered by American astronomers Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp on July 23rd, 1995, the Hale-Bopp comet is one of the brightest comets in space! Just like the previous comet, it can be seen from Earth with the naked eye. However, it's a thousand times more luminous than Halley’s Comet.
2. LEONID METEOR STORMS
First discovered in 1833, these meteor storms can be witnessed when Earth passes through the orbit of a different comet, called the Tempel-Tuttle. The Tempel-Tuttle orbits around the Sun every 33 years. And what’s most fascinating, is that you can witness 1000 meteors per hour during Leonid meteor storms.
1. CHURYUMOV-GERASIMENKO COMET
The Churyumov-Gerasimenko Comet was found from icy bodies that were located next to Neptune, and it will go towards the Sun. The comet orbits the Sun every six years, and goes through a high gravitational influence because of Jupiter, once the planet passes between Earth and Jupiter.
We can't wait for scientists to discover and unfold all the secrets of space, and everything the universe has to offer! But, in the meantime, we'll enjoy these astronomical phenomena while we have the chance. Which one of these would you like to witness the most? Make sure to mark your favorite one down in your calendar! And check out our related articles about space for more awesome information.