The recent ‘super blue blood moon’ was widely talked about and watched by many people. This lunar eclipse was particularly special because of the combination of different qualities. If you happened to miss this particular lunar eclipse, though, don’t worry—there are plenty of cool astronomical events to watch out for.
Some people may not really be aware of how many astronomical events there are each year. Between eclipses, meteor showers, interesting planetary alignments, and all sorts of other nighttime visuals, there’s plenty to watch. Because of this, it can seem difficult to keep up with all the upcoming events. And once you know what’s coming, you might be wondering how to best watch. Thankfully, there are sites and apps ready to help! You can always go the old school route, tech-free, but you can improve your sky-watching experience with the suggestions on this list.
There are plenty of apps and sites you can use to watch for upcoming events. You can typically find the same information through all these options, so it all comes down to personal preference. Check out these sites and apps to see which you like the best!
American Almanac of Astronomy and Weather—The Almanac (for iOS) lets you check out forecasts for many different things, including astronomical events. You can see upcoming events like eclipses and meteor showers, along with astronomical data.
Sky Events—This app (for Android) lists past and future astronomical events of all sorts. You can look by category, like lunar eclipses and meteor showers, plus you can learn more about the type of event and add events to your Google Calendar, along with other features.
Nat Geo’s Starstruck—This section on the National Geographic website features detailed and highly informational articles about upcoming astronomical events to watch out for. You can learn about exciting events, including the science behind them, in many cases. And since it’s Nat Geo, you can look at some stunning photos that accompany each article.
The New York Times Calendar—This calendar from NYT shows upcoming events, like meteor showers and eclipses, plus things like space launches. It can be accessed as a website, or you can have the calendar synced to your Google or iOS calendar.
Space.com Skywatching—The Skywatching section on Space.com posts guides to upcoming astronomical events, including lunar events, planetary events, and space launches. Since it’s Space.com, you can also expect to learn more about the science of these events through their articles.
Once you know what’s coming up next, try using one of these apps to figure out exactly where to look and what to look for!
Night Sky—This app (for iOS) can help you learn more about the night sky through an AR experience. You can identify stars, planets, and other objects, so if you’re not sure where to look for a certain event, this app can help you find the way. You can also do things like take “Sky Tours” and, if you have the Premium version, experience the solar system with augmented reality.
Sky Map—This app (for Android) is one of the early apps used for sky watching. Originally called Google Sky Maps, this app is now open-source (hence the name change) and lets you point your phone to find things like planets and constellations. You can even search for objects and let the app direct you to where they are.
SkyView—This app (for Android and iOS) lets you find or identify objects in the sky, like planets and stars. You can also learn about different objects that you look at. And it has night mode filters to make sure your eyes stay adjusted while you’re watching the stars.
How you can watch
Whether you’re stepping outside to watch or too far from the event to spot it, there are a couple sites you can use to make your plans!
Astronomy clubs—Thanks to NASA, you can easily find local astronomy clubs on the web. Their website has a club search that lets you search locations for a club to join. Even if you don’t join a club, knowing which clubs to follow can keep you up-to-date on things like watch parties.
Slooh—This site has quite a few fun astronomical offerings. Perhaps most importantly, you can watch live feeds and live events. There are live feeds from a number of different telescopes that you can check out all day, plus if there’s an upcoming event—like an eclipse or comet—you can likely watch a live stream of it. You have to pay to maintain a membership, but you can start a free 30-day trial to check it out!