It will be no ordinary Monday. In the early hours of December 14, 2020 the year’s biggest and most impressive meteor shower will strike—the Geminids. A few hours later a darkness will come to the day as a rare total eclipse of the Sun occurs.

Observers in the path of totality in South America are hoping for a glimpse of the Sun’s corona, but they’ll also be looking for green flashes of Geminids meteors in the twilight, and possibly also a comet close to the spectacle.

“It’s also a day we will see Joe Biden officially confirmed as President of the United States,” said Jay Pasachoff, Professor of Astronomy at Williams College, Massachusetts, who’s witnessed 35 total solar eclipses and 72 solar eclipses of all types. “Maybe it takes a total eclipse of the Sun to make that official.” 

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Delve into the dates and it gets even odder because December 14, 2020 is exactly halfway between two “Great American Eclipses,” which are extremely rare events.  

To be clear, there’s nothing auspicious or suspicious about any of this—it’s a celestial story of a randomly bright-ish comet, a debris trail from a giant asteroid and the Saros cycle—but it’s nevertheless interesting to note that total solar eclipses are a recurring theme in North America at the moment.

That includes politics. 

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Donald Trump has history with solar eclipses. Back on August 21, 2017 during the “Great American Eclipse” he was photographed looking at an 81% partial solar eclipse without safety glasses, risking solar retinopathy retinal damage. The photo was slightly unfair since the full video of the event shows his and his family and cabinet looking at the eclipse through solar eclipse glasses, with Trump stealing an extra glance without the glasses. It was a photo of the latter that went viral. 

Joe Biden—who has a dwarf planet named after him dating from his time as Vice-President—will see his forthcoming term in office book-ended by something even better than the “Great American Eclipse”—a “Greater North American Eclipse.”

On April 8, 2024 the Moon’s shadow will move across Mexico, the US and Canada, bringing a maximum of 4 minutes 28 seconds totality to Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

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Now comes the weird part. The halfway point between August 21, 2017 and April 8, 2024 is … December 14, 2020. The same day of another total solar eclipse, albeit not visible in North America. 

These celestial coincidences aside, most eclipse-chasers are either getting excited about what’s about to happen on December 14, or else they’re licking their wounds after canceling travel plans because of COVID-19. 

Those that make it to Chile and Argentina will experience totality as the Moon blocks the Sun and may see the comet or a “shooting star” during the darkness of the day.

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Discovered September by Nicolas Erasmus, an astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory, Comet C/2020 S3 (Erasmus) will be just 11º from the Sun and Moon during totality. It may not be bright enough, but there’s a chance.

In the early hours of Monday, December 14, 2020 the Geminid meteor shower will strike. A predictable annual event, the year’s most powerful meteor shower will see up to 150 multicoloured “shooting stars” per hour visible to anyone under a clear, dark sky. It’s best seen from the northern hemisphere, but some meteors are visible in the southern hemisphere.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.