Supermoon: A full moon that is one seventh bigger. If you are the kind of a person that keeps REALLY good track of how big the moon it, surprise! It is fourteen percent larger. Fun fact: One seventh, rounded to the nearest integer is ZERO!!!
Comet: First, the hype: “It will be spectacular! Maybe even visible in the day time”; then, the walk-back: “It may not be as spectacular as we thought but quite a show in the night sky”. Then, reality: “You might be able to see it with binoculars. It is a dim blurry blob in the constellation of Cancer” If dim blurry blobs were what I wanted, I’d be dating Roseanne Barr.
Meteor Shower: Easily simulated by sitting on a block of dry ice, in the dark , with someone randomly shining a flashlight just at the limits of your peripheral vision. Oops! Almost saw one… I’ll bet it was spectacular!
Partial Solar Eclipse: The astronomy equivalent of being seven years old and getting socks for Christmas.
Visible Mercury: Due to its closeness to the Sun, Mercury is almost never visible. But, when it is… boy howdy, is it a let down. Is it worth burning out your retinas at sunset just to prove to yourself that scientists didn’t just make that planet up? It is not.
Constellations: If you subtract from the eighty-eight constellations in the night sky the ones that look like what they are supposed to represent, you still have eighty-eight. If one of my kids had drawn a few dots and told me it was a scorpion, I’d be drug-testing him on a daily basis.
Mars at Closest Point to Earth: Yes, it’s probably impossible; however, if you insist on trying to jump to Mars, this would be the day to try it.
Alignment of the Planets: Every time there is any alignment of the planets, people start to panic about the combined gravity of those planets causing the end of all life on Earth as we know it. Maybe by earthquake or maybe we’ll just get sucked directly into the sky by all that gravity. When it comes and goes and we’re all still living our miserable lives as before, we can feel a sense of relief that we’ve survived and can now concentrate on panicking about the Arabic guy sitting next to us on the air plane…