Space calendar for 2016: Must-see star gazing events

Views of the Solar Eclipse from All Over, in Under a Minute
Views of the Solar Eclipse from All Over, in Under a Minute

If you're an astronomy or space enthusiast, you've had a lot of reasons to look up in 2015, from a total eclipse that slipped across the northern reaches of Norway in March to a gorgeous blood moon lunar eclipse in September -- and some spectacular meteor showers along the way.

Fortunately, 2016 promises just as much fun, and maybe even a little more. Here's a quick look at what's happening in space next year ... at least the events that us humans here on Earth can enjoy.

Here are a few of the highlights:

March 9: Total Solar Eclipse
If you can make it to Indonesia, you've got a chance to see a gorgeous total solar eclipse. Depending on your exact location you'll be able to see upwards of two minutes of "totality" -- the haunting moment when the moon blocks out the Sun's rays, creating an eerie and calming experience. (Don't worry if you can't make it to the other side of the planet, because there's one coming to the United States in 2017).

May 22: Mars at Opposition
If you want to snap a picture of Mars, this is your best chance in 2016 (unless you happen to be a robot on Mars). The Red Planet will be at its closest point to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. A great time to photograph the planet, it's also a great time to capture some of the details on the surface with a medium-sized telescope.

August 27: Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter
Though they are typically more than 400 million miles from each other, Venus and Jupiter will look like they're about to high five each other in August during a special conjunction. The two bright planets will appear to be only 0.06 degrees apart, if you keep your eyes to the west after sunset.

October 16: Supermoon
We'll see three of the awesome "Supermoons" in 2016 -- which occur when the moon is both full and at its closest point to Earth -- making it appear bigger than usual. The others will occur in mid-November and mid-December.

See more 2015 Year in Review:
The 10 most-visited cities of 2015
The most iconic news photos of 2015
24 greatest discoveries of 2015 from Swiss cheese holes to a new cancer source
Watch the most unique pregnancy announcements of the year