2022 Sky Events

Our clockwork solar system causes celestial events to repeat with regularity from our vantage point on the Earth. This allowed ancient astronomers, from millennia ago, to predict the rising of certain stars and guess when eclipses were possible. Our abilities have just gotten better over the years, and we now predict with certainty the solar system events listed on this page.

18th Century illustration of an Orrery (lower right) for demonstrating astronomical alignments. Solar System simulations have been largely replaced by visual media such as animated GIF files.
Supermoon versus Micromoon © Michel Deconinck. All rights reserved. Used by permission. This is a simulated comparison from a pastel sketch made during the perigee full Moon of 2015 August 29th. Sketch took more than two-hours using 4” f/10 Bresser refractor.

Super and Micromoons
Due to the elliptical shape of the lunar orbit, the distance from the Earth to the Moon can vary by 50,200 km (31,200 mi). The term “Supermoon” describes a Full Moon that occurs near the Moon’s closest approach to Earth while “Micromoon” describes a Full Moon near the point furthest from the Earth. A Supermoon can be 14% bigger than a Micromoon. The difference in size is very obvious in photographic comparisons.

There is no agreed-upon definition of how close and far a Moon needs to be to qualify for any of these “Moon” titles. So the January 17, Full Moon, the smallest Moon of the year, in some sources is listed as a Micromoon but not in others. The next smallest Full Moon is the December 7 one.  The three largest Moons this year follow each other on June 14, July 13, and August 12 and are in decreasing size order. Sources agree that the first two are “Super” but disagree on the third.

FoneMate Smartphone Imaging

Use FoneMate™ to record events through the eyepiece.

To share lunar, solar, and eclipse views with friends or do on-the-go imaging, use our FoneMate™ smartphone adapter (mobile site) on a compatible Tele Vue eyepiece. Your camera app then displays the image on the screen. Just hit the shutter or video button to capture the moment. Using a time-lapse photo app will allow you to capture longer events like eclipses/transits (use telescope filters for solar work).

Blue Moon Eclipse by AstroBin user Joe Beyer. Copyright Joe Beyer. Used by permission. TV-85 APO refractor with Tele Vue 2x Powermate image amplifier (1200-mm effective focal length) into Nikon D7200 DSLR.

Lunar Eclipses
Two total lunar eclipses will grace Earth’s sky in 2022. These events last for hours, with the Moon in the deepest part of Earth’s shadow for about 90-minutes. That’s the time period that the Moon will appear red and some call it a “Blood Moon.”

The first, on May 16,  will have totality visible throughout all of the Americas except Alaska and the Canadian Arctic. Iceland, the UK, the western part of Europe, central and western Africa as well as the Atlantic Ocean will have a view of totality. In the Pacific, Hawaii and areas to the east will see totality. Shut out will be most of Russia, China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia, and areas down to Australia. Other areas will see the Moon dim as it enters the Earth’s penumbra.

Total Lunar Eclipse 2022 May 16 visibility.
Los AngelesNew YorkUTRome
Umbra 1st ContactMoon not risen22:28 (Sun)02:27:53 (Mon)04:28 (Mon)
Mid-Eclipse21:11 (Sun)00:11 (Mon)04:12:42 (Mon)Moon has set
Umbra Last Contact22:55 (Sun)01:55 (Mon)05:55:07 (Mon)Moon has set
16 May 2022 Lunar Eclipse Circumstances in Local Time for Various Locations

The second total lunar eclipse will be on November 8.  It is centered on the vast Pacific Ocean. The total phase will be visible from eastern North America to Central America and northwestern South America. China, Japan, Eastern India, Southeast Asia, and areas down to Australia will also see totality. Totality will miss Scandinavia, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa.

Total Lunar Eclipse 2022 Nov 08 visibility.
Partial Solar Eclipse map 2022 April 30. Image Key.

Solar Eclipses
All solar eclipses need filters to observe the partial phases. There will be no total solar eclipses this year — only two partial ones.

The first event is the April 30th partial solar eclipse that will be visible from the southern part of South America, the adjoining Pacific Ocean, and down to the waters and coast of West Antarctica. The deepest eclipse of this partial event is from the tip of South America to waters west of the Antarctic Peninsula, where over half of the Sun will be covered. 

Partial Solar Eclipse map for 2022 Oct 25. Image Key

The October 25 partial solar eclipse will darken the skies from the arctic to India on one side and through much of Europe, the Middle East, and the northern part of Africa to the horn on the other. The deepest part of the eclipse will be in eastern Russia and Kazakhstan. They will see about 80% of the Sun covered.

Tele Vue’s Rich Field Telescopes
Every Tele Vue refractor, from the Tele Vue-60 to the 5″ Tele Vue-NP127is, can give at least a 4° field with our low power eyepieces to make it easy to sweep-up Messier objects, view planetary conjunctions, eclipses,  etc. Need high power? All our scopes are APO and have no problem reaching higher power for lunar, planetary, and splitting tight double stars with our short focal length eyepieces. Try our Eyepiece Calculator (mobile version) to find the right eyepieces for your telescope.

Messier Marathon
In March each year, the Sun passes through a gap in the sky that doesn’t contain any Messier objects (in Pisces / Aquarius). When the Moon is new during this gap, it is possible to observe all the Messier objects (depending on your latitude) in a one-night “Marathon” observing session. This year, the Messier Marathon window opens on March 2 — coincident with the new Moon. The Moon is again new on March 30, providing another viewing window Window for the last days of the Month. Organized Marathons will aim for the first weekend without lunar interference, which will be Saturday, March 5 (best for low latitudes) and April 5 (late, but better for higher latitudes). See this chart for the Messier Observing Window in latitude versus date form.

This is a section of a Messier Object sky map. The path of the Sun is shown as orange dots. The gap in objects when the Sun is near the Vernal Equinox (RA: 0h and Dec: 0°) is when the Messier Marathon is possible. Original sky map by Cmglee in the Public Domain.

Planetary Pairings
We usually speak of conjunction when describing celestial bodies close together in the sky. You can start observing the following conjunctions in the days before the closest approach to see how they draw together and pass each other in the sky. 

Planet Mosaic by Instagram user Dane Hankin. Over a year’s work went into creating this planetary mosaic. (L-R) Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, with the Moon at the bottom. All images were captured using a Tele Vue Optics 2.5x Powermate to amplify a NexStar 6SE telescope for imaging with ZWO ASI 224mc camera.

Two interesting conjunctions happen in April this year. On April 4, in the morning hours before sunrise, with brilliant Venus looking on, Saturn and Mars will be only 19-minutes of arc apart in Capricornus. This is close enough that both will fit within the same eyepiece field of view in an amateur telescope. At the end of the month on April 30, another conjunction for early risers is between the brilliant planets, Venus and Jupiter. They will become 13.8 arcminutes apart in the constellation Pisces. 

May 29 finds Jupiter and Mars a little over a full Moons width apart in the morning sky. Jupiter will be a brilliant mag -2.3 while Mars will be merely bright at mag 0.7.

Nagler 3-6 Planetary Zoom

Nagler 3-6 Planetary Zoom.

The most versatile planetary eyepiece is the Nagler 3-6 Planetary Zoom (mobile site)! With just a flick of the finger, you can continuously vary the focal length from 6mm down to 3mm with click-stops along the way. Fine-tune the view for your seeing conditions or flick up the power to confirm that you’ve sighted an ice-giant planet and not a field star.

Our variety of eyepieces gives your scope a wide, medium, or planetary power field. Try our Eyepiece Calculator (mobile version) to find eyepieces with the right combination of magnification, exit pupil size, and true fields of view for the objects you like to observe. 

Planetary Oppositions
Planets in opposition are in the sky opposite the Sun when viewed from Earth. They rise at sunset and are in the sky all night. Around opposition, the planets are closest to Earth and at their brightest. This makes opposition is an opportune time to view and image a planet — especially the faint “ice giants” Uranus and Neptune. Note that only planets further away from the Sun than Earth can be in opposition (diagram right). Below are the dates of opposition for the major planets. To get the most out of opposition season for a planet, you can start observing before the opposition date as it will already appear larger than average at that time.

Oppositions are only possible for an “outer planet.” Opposition happens when Earth and the outer planet line up on the same side of the Sun (bottom of diagram). Any planet that lines up in the direction of the Sun, from our viewpoint, goes into Conjunction with the Sun and disappears from view. (top of diagram)  Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.
  • August 14: Saturn
  • September 16: Neptune
  • September 26: Jupiter
  • November 9: Uranus
  • December 8: Mars

Powermate for Planetary Imaging

Powermates come in 1¼” (2.5x & 5x) and 2″ (2x, & 4x).

Attempting to image a planet at opposition? Just sticking a camera at the end of your longest focal length scope will likely produce tiny images. It’ll need a “boost” to achieve the planetary images seen in this post. Tele Vue Powermate™ photo / visual amplifiers (mobile site) increase the focal length of your scope with reduced aberrations, greater magnification potential, and compact size compared to typical Barlow lenses.  They each also have a T-ring accessory adapter available.

Did you observe, sketch, or image with Tele Vue gear? We’ll like your social media post on that if you tag it #televue and the gear used. Example:
#televue #tv85 #ethos #jupiter

Do you want your Tele Vue images re-posted on Tele Vue Optics’ Social Media accounts? Use this hashtag for consideration:

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