Category: Planets and Stars

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse ~ February 10 -11, 2017

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse ~ February 10 -11, 2017

~ Tonight – February 10, 2017 – you might think the full moon looks slightly darker than a typical full moon, if you might catch it as it’s passing through the Earth’s faint penumbral shadow. There’s a penumbral lunar eclipse tonight, the most subtle kind of eclipse. Some people will easily notice Earth’s light penumbral […]

Star-hop from Pegasus to Andromeda Galaxy ~ Sky Watch

Star-hop from Pegasus to Andromeda Galaxy ~ Sky Watch

~ By Bruce McClure Tonight, try star-hopping to the famous Andromeda galaxy – the large spiral galaxy next-door to our Milky Way – from the Great Square of Pegasus. Ready? Look westward for the four stars of the Great Square. You’ll find them high in the west at early evening. The Great Square will sink […]

Winter Solstice ~ The Longest Night

Winter Solstice ~ The Longest Night

~ By Molly Hall The longest night of the year is honored by many traditions as a sacred time. In the past, it’s been a night to gather ’round the fire, or set out candles to call back the Sun. It’s on the 21st in 2016. Is this where the date for Christmas came from?  […]

Ursid Meteor Shower ~ December 19 - 23, 2016

Ursid Meteor Shower ~ December 19 – 23, 2016

~ The annual Ursid meteor shower always peaks near the time of the December solstice, so, in 2016, look for some possible activity over the next several nights. The forecast calls for December 21-22 to be the peak night. Normally a sparse shower, you might see about five meteors per hour. This shower favors the […]

Super Nova in Sagittarius ~ November 2016 Sky Watch

Super Nova in Sagittarius ~ November 2016 Sky Watch

~ There’s a nova in the sky now. It’s faint and requires a dark sky to be seen, but photos pick it up more easily. Astrophotographer Jeff Dai captured it from Thailand. The bright object is Venus! The nova, PNV J18205200-2822100, is visible to the eye, but just barely. The setting is Wat Mahathat in […]

Orionid Meteor Shower Peak Tonight!

Orionid Meteor Shower Peak Tonight!

~ By Bruce McClure Tonight – October 20, 2016 – is the probable peak night of the annual Orionid meteor shower. The meteors should become visible, starting at late evening on October 20, but will probably be most prolific in the few hours before dawn on October 21. From a dark site, you might see […]

See Moon ,Venus and Saturn ~ Sky Watch

See Moon ,Venus and Saturn ~ Sky Watch

~ By Bruce McClure in Tonight Tonight –  look for the moon and brightest planet Venus low in the west starting around 20 minutes ( or less) after sunset. If you miss them tonight – and that’ll be easy to do since they’re low in the western twilight sky – look tomorrow night. Each successive […]

Harvest Full Moon Penumbral Eclipse September 16, 2016 ~ Sky Watch

Harvest Full Moon Penumbral Eclipse September 16, 2016 ~ Sky Watch

~ Find Out Where You Can See This Eclipse: By Deborah Byrd and Bruce McClure in Tonight Full moon comes on September 16, 2016, and, for the Northern Hemisphere, this upcoming full moon is known as the Harvest Moon. It’s a particularly close and large Harvest Moon, which some will call a supermoon. And the […]

African Solar Eclipse ~ September 1, 2016

African Solar Eclipse ~ September 1, 2016

~   As seen from the southern tropical regions of Africa and Madagascar, the new moon will pass directly in front of the solar disk on September 1, 2016, to stage an annular eclipse of the sun. During an annular solar eclipse, the moon lies too far away from Earth to completely cover over the […]

Venus-Jupiter Conjunction ~ August 27, 2016 - Night Sky

Venus-Jupiter Conjunction ~ August 27, 2016 – Night Sky

~ Tonight – August 27, 2016 – the sky’s two brightest planets Venus and Jupiter will stage the year’s closest conjunction of two planets. These worlds appear only about 1/15th degree apart on the sky’s dome. How close is that? Well, 1/15th of a degree is the equivalent of 1/30th of the moon’s apparent diameter. […]

See Earth’s Shadow and Belt of Venus ~ Night Sky

See Earth’s Shadow and Belt of Venus ~ Night Sky

~ In both the evening and morning sky, try watching for Earth’s shadow. Earth’s shadow is a deep blue-grey, darker than the twilight sky. The pink band above the shadow – in the east after sunset, or west before dawn – is called the Belt of Venus. Watch for a while as the Sun gets […]

See Visible Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn & Jupiter ~ August 3 - 6, 2016

See Visible Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn & Jupiter ~ August 3 – 6, 2016

~  By Bruce McClure August 3 – 6, 2016 – as soon as darkness falls on August 6, use the moon to find the nearby blazing planet Jupiter. Then try to catch all five bright planets in the evening sky! In their order going outward from the sun, the five planets visible to the unaided […]

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space

~ By Maria Popova In this week’s New York Times Book Review, I write about Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space by astrophysicist and novelist Janna Levin. It’s a miraculously beautiful book about the story of one of the most important scientific discoveries ever made – the detection of gravitational waves, first […]

Where To See A Subtle Lunar Eclipse  ~ March 23, 2016

Where To See A Subtle Lunar Eclipse ~ March 23, 2016

~ By Bruce McClure @http://earthsky.org/tonight Observant people in North America and the Pacific will see a very, very subtle partial penumbral eclipse of the moon on the morning of March 23, 2016. The blazing planet Jupiter will be nearby. Western North America has the eclipse taking place in its sky from start to finish. Other […]

Keep Watching for Orionid Meteors ~ October 21-22, 2015

Keep Watching for Orionid Meteors ~ October 21-22, 2015

~ Tonight (October 21-22, 2015) features what might be the peak night of the annual Orionid shower. The Orionid meteors generally start at late night, or around midnight, and display peak numbers in the predawn hours. Meteor showers aren’t just one-night events. In fact, they can last for several weeks, as Earth passes through a […]

Moon, Venus, Jupiter spectacular before dawn ~ October 6 - 8, 2015

Moon, Venus, Jupiter spectacular before dawn ~ October 6 – 8, 2015

~ Wednesday morning – October 7, 2015 – offered a spectacular line-up of the moon and bright planets Venus and Jupiter in the east before dawn. Thursday morning – October 8 – is even better! Now the waning crescent moon is closer to Venus, which is the sky’s brightest planet. The second-brightest planet, Jupiter, will […]

Super Blood Moon Eclipse - September 27 - 28, 2015

Super Blood Moon Eclipse – September 27 – 28, 2015

~ There is a total eclipse of the moon on the night of September 27-28, 2015. It happens to be the closest supermoon of 2015. It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon, or full moon nearest the September equinox. It’s the Southern Hemisphere’s first full moon of spring. This September full moon is also called a […]

This Week's Night Sky: Jupiter’s Moons in a Double Eclipse

This Week’s Night Sky: Jupiter’s Moons in a Double Eclipse

~ By Andrew Fazekas, National Geographic The moon acts as a guide to stunning celestial sights throughout the week, and Jupiter’s largest moons converge in a special eclipse. Worlds align.  After nightfall on Monday, May 25, check out a beautiful alignment of  bright celestial objects in the western sky. The first-quarter moon pins down the […]

This Week’s Night Sky ~ Lunar Wall and a Bull’s Eye

This Week’s Night Sky ~ Lunar Wall and a Bull’s Eye

  The Hyades star cluster, 147 light-years away, is the nearest cluster to Earth. The bright red giant Aldebaran—the red eye of Taurus the Bull—shines in the upper left of this image. Photograph by NASA, ESA, and STScI   By Andrew Fazekas From jewel-like stellar nurseries to a giant fault line on the moon, the night […]

The Eclipses of 2015 ~

The Eclipses of 2015 ~

~ By Molly Hall Eclipses are extraordinary passages of the year.  The Moon crosses the path of the Sun (the ecliptic) usually four times a year.  And when it does, from our earthly vantage point, it appears the Sun and Moon align with the home planet. Eclipses are like peak scenes in the story of […]

Watch the Night Sky This Week for Eerie Light, a Giant Moon

Watch the Night Sky This Week for Eerie Light, a Giant Moon

Zodiacal light, seen In this photo taken at Paranal Residencia in Chile, looks like the glow of a distant city but is actually sunlight reflected off interplanetary dust. Photograph by Y. Beletsky, ESO Late winter stars and planets take center stage this week, giving plenty of celestial reasons to go outside in both evening and […]

4 Sky Events This Week: Mars Snuggles With Venus, Green Comet Rings a Bell

4 Sky Events This Week: Mars Snuggles With Venus, Green Comet Rings a Bell

~ Earth’s two nearest planetary neighbors, Venus and Mars, will pose together in the sunset sky this week. Sky-watchers get a last good look at comet Lovejoy while nearby planets jostle for attention. By Andrew Fazekas As Earth’s moon begins its climb in our night skies this week, the moons of Jupiter chase their shadows. […]

A Rare Triple Moon Eclipse on Jupiter ~

A Rare Triple Moon Eclipse on Jupiter ~

~ NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured three of Jupiter’s moons marching across the huge planet’s disc, a stunning sight that happens only once or twice every 10 years. The rare triple-moon conjunction on Jupiter, which Hubble witnessed on Jan. 24, involved Io, Callisto and Europa — three of the gas giant’s four Galilean moons […]

Watch for These Top 5 Sky Events of 2015: Eclipses, Comets, and Planets

Watch for These Top 5 Sky Events of 2015: Eclipses, Comets, and Planets

Lunar eclipses and the innermost planets will take center stage in the heavens The moon turns bright red as it hides in the shadow of the Earth during a total lunar eclipse. Photograph by Richard Tresch Fienberg, Sky and Telescope Andrew Fazekas for National Geographic Stay tuned, stargazers—the year ahead offers many heavenly delights, including […]

4 Sky Events This Week: Inner Planets Dance While Saturn Dazzles ~ January  2015

4 Sky Events This Week: Inner Planets Dance While Saturn Dazzles ~ January 2015

~ The moon rides above Saturn, while bright Venus points to faint Mercury Cassini snapped this sweeping view of Saturn back in 2007 when the spacecraft was about two million miles (over three million kilometers) from the planet. This week sky-watchers get a good view of the planet while it’s parked next to the moon. […]

See all five visible planets in January 2015 ~

See all five visible planets in January 2015 ~

How to see Comet Lovejoy, plus best photos! Tonight, if you have a clear sky, set a goal for yourself of seeing all five visible planets. By visible planet, we mean any solar system planet that’s readily visible to the unaided eye. In their order going outward from the sun, the five visible planets are […]

Sirius Midnight Culmination New Year’s Eve ~

Sirius Midnight Culmination New Year’s Eve ~

On New Year’s Eve look up for the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, in the constellation Canis Major. This star is up in the evening every winter, and it’s always easy to identify. Although a few planets might be brighter, Sirius outshines every other star in the night sky. If you go outside late […]

November is the Month of the Pleiades ~

November is the Month of the Pleiades ~

~ November is the month of the Pleiades star cluster. On these November nights, the Pleiades cluster shines from nightfall until dawn. It’s low in the east at nightfall, high overhead around midnight and low in the west before dawn. Locate it by the bright star Aldebaran this evening, or any evening soon. Spot the […]

South Taurid Meteors  ~  Early November

South Taurid Meteors ~ Early November

Feature chart above: If you trace the South Taurid meteors backward, they all appear to radiate from the constellation Taurus the Bull. But you don’t have to identify Taurus to watch the South Taurid shower. This year, in 2014, the peak of the South Taurid meteor shower is expected to fall in the next few […]

Find the Ghoul Star of Perseus ~

Find the Ghoul Star of Perseus ~

    Two sky tips for today. First, as Halloween approaches, try looking for the star Beta Persei, otherwise known as Algol in the constellation Perseus. This star’s proper name comes from the Arabic for head of the ghoul, or head of the demon. Second, have you been watching the moon lately? If so, you […]

The North Americans see Partial Solar Eclipse ~ October 23, 2014

The North Americans see Partial Solar Eclipse ~ October 23, 2014

~   Photo credit top of post: Grand Canyon National Park Leslie C. Peltier, author of the celebrated 1965 book Starlight Nights, described watching a solar eclipse through a telescope: I shifted the telescope ever so slightly toward the western edge of the sun – then, a moment later, I was staring spellbound, as the […]

Comet Siding Spring’s ~ Near Collision with Mars - October 19, 2014

Comet Siding Spring’s ~ Near Collision with Mars – October 19, 2014

~ Astronomers have been waiting with bated breath for the big day – October 19, 2014 – as Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) nearly misses the planet Mars in its maiden journey through the inner solar system. The feature sky chart above shows the red planet Mars and Comet Siding Spring snuggling up together in […]