The best night sky events to see in 2022

Another year of skywatching is upon us, and there’s a lot to look forward to in 2022!

Here are some of the more noteworthy sky events that will take place this upcoming year.’s Night Sky column will provide more extensive coverage of most of these events as they draw closer. 

Mid-February to mid-March: The Venus show

(Image credit: SkySafari app)

The most brilliant of all the planets will grace the predawn morning sky, shining low in the southeast sky a couple of hours before sunrise. Venus will attain its greatest brilliance on Feb. 13, and through small telescopes and steadily-held binoculars it will resemble a lovely crescent phase. On March 20 — the first day of spring — it will have waned to a half-moon phase while attaining its greatest western elongation from the sun. And along the way, the moon will engage it in a lovely celestial tableau on Feb. 26.

April 5: The God of War meets the Lord of the Rings

(Image credit: SkySafari app)

Low in the east-southeast sky before sunrise we’ll be treated to a rather tight conjunction this morning, as Mars slips less than 0.4 degrees below Saturn. What will make this an especially striking naked-eye sight will be that these two worlds are practically the same brightness (Saturn, magnitude +0.9, Mars +1.0) and the color contrast between yellow-white Saturn and orangish Mars. And 7 degrees to their will gleam dazzling Venus. Well worth setting your alarm clock for 5:30 a.m. to see!

Late April/early May: Possible naked-eye comet?

This sky map shows the view after sunset from New York City on May 2, 2022.

This sky map shows the view after sunset from New York City on May 2, 2022. (Image credit: SkySafari app)

Comet C/2021 O3 (PanSTARRS) will pass to within 26.6 million miles (42.8 million kilometers) of the sun on April 21 and could possibly brighten to fourth magnitude — bright enough to glimpse with bare eyes — during the final week of April into early May. If visible, it will be low in the west-northwest sky shortly after sunset in the spring evening sky. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

April 27–30: Celestial summit meeting

(Image credit: SkySafari app)

During the latter half of April, watch as Jupiter begins to ascend from beyond the east-southeast horizon and approaches Venus. On April 27, a striking gathering of the three brightest objects in the nighttime sky will be visible in dawn twilight as a waning crescent moon slides below Jupiter and Venus, which will be separated by 3 degrees. How would the ancient skywatchers have interpreted this summitry?