Happy New Year, Feliz Año Nuevo, and Bonne Année to you all!
2022 promises to be an exciting year for space and astronomy. Not just because of the successful launch and near-complete deployment of the James Webb Space Telescope, but NASA’s Artemis-I and ESA’s JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) missions are both expected to launch in the spring. Shortly after, NASA’s Psyche mission will launch to explore Psyche’s unique metal composition.
Existing missions, JUNO and DART, will have their own time to shine as JUNO conducts two flybys of Jupiter’s moon Europa for closer inspection. DART, launched in November 2021, arrives at its target, Dimorphos, in the fall. We also return to Mars and our moon this year with the ExoMars rover and PRIME-1 mission.
Closer to home, we’ll have two total lunar eclipses in North America (both visible from New York!), and some planetary conjunctions scattered throughout the year, all observable under the right conditions. More importantly, we will be returning to some of our favorite observing locations within the five boroughs for regularly scheduled stargazing. Watch our calendar for new dates in the coming weeks.
Whether you are an active observer or a passing hobbyist, we hope you’ll join us this year to share and celebrate the science. And as we celebrate our 95th year! To quote John Dobson, “Curiosity is a characteristic of our species. Everybody wants to understand the universe. They’re just waiting for somebody to show it to them.” Let that someone be you.
On behalf of the AAA, may your mirrors be aligned, your star finders accurate, and your skies clear.