All The Incredible Astro Events You Can Look Forward To In 2017

If there was one thing that never failed to disappoint this year, it was the series of spectacles happening above us. It seemed like almost every month, we were looking up at another supermoon (they're really not that common) or an Instagram-worthy meteor shower. Who needs tickets to Electric Zoo when you can catch a free midnight light show?

While 2017 isn't lined up to have as many spectacles as this past year, there is one event that is likely to outshine all the rest: A total solar eclipse. Seriously — people have been talking about this for years. Now is the time to start thinking about where you want to be when the epic scene takes shape this summer.

There will also be other eclipses, meteor showers, and full moons you won't want to miss. And some of these happen soon. Ahead, your guide to the best astronomical events happening next year. The sky's the limit.
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Photo: Donovan Shortey/Flickr.
The Quadrantids Meteor Shower

When: The night of January 3 into the morning of January 4

Why It Matters: Not all meteor showers are visible in the Northern Hemisphere, but this one is! Head outdoors before dawn for an early 2017 light show, with 100 or more meteors shooting through the sky each hour. And you thought the celebrations ended on New Year's Eve.
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Photo: Fachrul Reza/NurPhoto via Getty Images.
A Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

When: February 11, 2017

Why It Matters: The next total lunar eclipse, which happens when the earth passes between the moon and the sun, won’t happen until January 2018, but we will be treated to one penumbral, or partial, lunar eclipse in 2017. As with the penumbral eclipse that occurred this past September, the moon may appear slightly darker than usual.
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Photo: Richard Bouhet/AFP/Getty Images.
An Annular Solar Eclipse

When: February 26, 2017

Why It Matters: If you've heard the term "ring of fire," people are likely referring to the phenomenon that is an annular solar eclipse, and not the Johnny Cash song. This effect is produced when the moon passes by, but does not completely cover, the sun. Unless you're planning on being in South America, Africa, or Antarctica, though, you won't see this one occur. You will get to see the next eclipse, though, which will be most spectacular one of the year.
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Photo: Luca Prizia/Pacific Press/LightRocket/Getty Images.
A Total Solar Eclipse

When: August 21, 2017

Why It Matters: This will be the biggest astronomical event of 2017. While a total solar eclipse takes place every year or two (one occurred this past March), we can't always see it here in the U.S. But this August, that will be the case for the first time in 99 years, as the sun, earth, and moon completely align. Go ahead and put in your vacation day request now. But if you do plan on looking up, make sure you get appropriate eye protection.
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Photo: Derek Davis/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images.
The Cold Moon

When: December 3, 2017

Why It Matters: 2016 was a super year for super full moons. Not only did we get three right in a row (October, November, and December), we also saw the closest full moon in decades. While experts disagree on the distance required to make one moon qualify as supermoon versus another, 2017 isn't likely to have as many as 2016. The only super full moon of the year (there will be a couple of super new moons) occurs an entire year from now, in December 2016.
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