Things to see in the sky in 2022 including meteor showers, a supermoon and partial solar eclipse
A new astronomical calendar is set to be bursting with meteor showers, a supermoon and a partial solar eclipse.
If you're fascinated by what's happening in the skies above, here's some important 2022 dates for your diary.
1. Quadrantid meteor shower, January 3
This meteor shower begins around mid-December in 2021 but it won't reach its peak until early January of the new year.
If the skies remain clear the Quadrantids should peak on the evening of January 3 sometime after 8pm.
2. Lyrids meteor shower, April 21
The Lyrid meteor shower produces a burst of meteor activity around mid to late April. Meteors are created by small chunks of debris that come from objects like asteroids or comets, which as the Earth passes through the trail of material it brings some of the trail with it into the atmosphere.
In 2022, the Lyrid meteor shower will peak on the night of April 22 and overnight into the early hours of April 23.
Royal Museums Greenwich, home to the Royal Observatory, warns that conditions may not be ideal for seeing the peak of the shower because it will take place around the time of the full moon. But those wishing to give it a try are advised, as with all meteor showers, to find somewhere dark and away from light pollution.
3. Eta Aquarids meteor shower, May 6
The Eta Aquarids will peak overnight between May 5 and May 6 and it is between midnight and dawn that you might get the very best view.
Caused by the Comet Halley, this shower is much more active for people living in the Southern Hemisphere, but with clear skies stargazers in the UK are still expected to see some activity low in the skies, if conditions are good.
4. Supermoon, July 13
A supermoon happens when the Moon is at its closest point to Earth during its orbit at the same time that a full moon also takes place - making the Moon seem both significantly bigger and brighter.
In 2022 you'll be able to see this spectacle in mid-July.
5. Perseid meteor shower, August 12 and 13
The Perseid meteor shower is active from around mid-July until the end of August but is set to produce it's best displays for those hoping to catch a glimpse around August 12 and 13.
Described by Royal Museums Greenwich as one of the best and brightest meteor showers because it is so active, you can almost begin looking for them in the skies above you as soon as the sun sets.
And with this spectacle set to peak in the middle of the school holidays - it can be an ideal event for the whole family to enjoy.
6. Orionid meteor shower, October 21
The last Orionids meteor shower in 2021 saw most of the display drowned out by the brightness of the Moon so stargazers are hoping 2022 will bring with it the chance to see a better display.
On a dark, clear night when the Moon doesn't dim the displays it is possible to see between 10 and 20 meteors in the sky every hour.
7. Partial solar eclipse, October 25
This will be the second partial solar eclipse in 2022 but, crucially the one most likely to be visible from the UK, Europe and parts of the Middle East.
A partial eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the Earth but unlike in a total solar eclipse, the sun's light is not entirely blocked to make it quite so dark outside.
October's event is due to take place on Tuesday, October 25 - plenty of time to get yourself some suitable glasses to protect your eyes should you want to take a look.
8. Germinid meteor shower, December 14
The Germinid meteor shower takes place for around two weeks in December but is expected to be at its biggest and best around December 14 at the end of 2022.
The shower is likely to peak around 1pm on December 14 so the best displays, with clear skies, may be seen before dawn earlier that morning or after dusk that night.