The changing of the year marks the start of another season for stargazing and meteor hunting as astronomers and other space experts have unveiled the latest calendar of upcoming celestial events for 2016.
From meteor showers to solar and lunar eclipses, the new year is set to be filled with astronomical displays that will excite fans in different parts of the world.
Quadrantid Meteor Shower
2016 kicks off with a celestial spectacle as the Quadrantid meteor shower is set to occur from Jan. 3 to Jan. 4. The event is highlighted by the transit of as many as 40 meteors per hour coming from the region of the Boötes Constellation.
Meteor hunters and stargazers may have to be patient in their pursuit of the Quadrantids though as the brightness of the moon's second quarter could make it difficult to spot the transiting space rocks.
Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower
Similar to the transit of the Quadrantid meteors earlier in the year, the moon's brightness may obscure the view of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower. Astronomers, however, predict that once the new moon sets in on May 6, the evening skies would become dark enough to see the passing of these remnants of Halley's Comet.
People can expect to see as many as 30 meteors per hour in the Northern Hemisphere and around 60 meteors per hour in the Southern Hemisphere.
Perseid Meteor Shower
Arguably one of the most popular celestial events every summer, this year's transit of the Perseids from Aug. 12 to Aug. 13 is expected to be more visibly seen than 2015's meteor shower as the skies will likely be darker once the moon sets sometime around midnight.
The conditions of the Perseid meteor shower provide a good opportunity for campers to witness the passing of as many as 60 meteors per hour across the summer sky.
Orionid Meteor Shower
The Orionid meteor shower, which is composed of remnants of Halley's Comet, will race across the autumn sky on Oct. 21. Light from the second quarter moon may get in the way of clear meteor shower viewing but stargazers can still catch a glimpse of some Orionids as they transit from the area of the Orion Constellation.
Total Solar Eclipse
People in Indonesia and other areas nearby are in for an astronomical treat as a total solar eclipse is scheduled to occur on Mar. 9. The event pertains to the darkening of the daytime sky as the moon blocks the sun completely. This leaves only the fiery corona of the sun visible in the sky for a few moments.
Residents of the continental United States need to wait for another year or so to see a rare total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
This type of lunar eclipse occurs when the moon passes through the edges of the Earth's shadow known as the penumbra. This causes the moon to become darker but without taking on the usual red hue that is often seen during a total lunar eclipse.
Two penumbral lunar eclipses will take place this year. The first one will be on Mar. 23, which will be visible to people in Western North America and Eastern Asia, and the second one will be on Sept. 16, which will be visible to those living in Eastern Europe, Eastern Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Supermoon And Geminid Meteor Shower
Spotting the Geminid meteor shower in December may be quite the challenge for fans of celestial events as a supermoon is also slated to occur during that time. The brightness of the unusually large moon could make it more difficult to observe the shooting stars when they make their transit.