Super moons and bright planets: What 2020 night skies will bring
New Jersey's skies were an interesting watch for astronomy buffs last year with "blue moons"— two moons in one month — and "super moons" — when the moon is close to the Earth. But even with a lot of moons in 2020, there will still be fewer sky events.
Rutgers astronomy and physics professor Carlton Pryor tells us there will be big and bright moons on March 9 and April 7.
But Pryor describes 2020 as a "sparse" year because there will not be any interesting lunar or solar eclipses.
He says the most interesting sky events will be the prominence of Venus, Jupiter and Mars, particularly in October.
"Jupiter and Saturn, which are always among our brighter planets in the sky, will be big and bright in July," he said.
The two planets will be close to each other all summer and will be most prominent on Dec. 21.
Pryor says most of these moons and the planets will be visible with the naked eye.
"They're big, they're bright. Indeed, our skies tend be very light-polluted in New Jersey, so fainter objects become difficult to see. This close approach of Jupiter and Saturn are among the brightest planets in our sky and look like bright stars, basically. So those will be visible no matter what the light pollution."
Pryor says there's nothing on the horizon for comet activity. He says we may see some meteor storms in 2020.
Joe Cutter is the senior news anchor on New Jersey 101.5