Category: Planets and Stars

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 […]

Total Eclipse Full Blood Moon ~ October 7-8,2014

Total Eclipse Full Blood Moon ~ October 7-8,2014

~ There is a total eclipse of the full moon on October 8, 2014. This is the Northern Hemisphere’s Hunter’s Moon – the name for the full moon after the Harvest Moon. It’s also aBlood Moon, and this eclipse is the second in a series of four so-called Blood Moon eclipses. For North America and […]

Glimpse  The Scorpion’s Heart ~ The Star Antares

Glimpse The Scorpion’s Heart ~ The Star Antares

  Now that summer is fading away, the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion is only visible at nightfall and very early evening. But the night of September 29, 2014 is a good time to see Scorpius one more time, or at least to glimpse the Scorpion’s Heart, the star Antares. The chart at the top of […]

September Equinox ~ September 22 - 23, 2014

September Equinox ~ September 22 – 23, 2014

 ~   The 2014 northern autumnal equinox (southern spring equinox) takes place on Tuesday, September 23 at 2:29 UTC. If you could be standing on the sun at that moment, at the instant of the 2014 autumnal equinox, you’d see the part of Earth shown on the image at the top of this post facing […]

Sun passes out of Leo and into Virgo ~

Sun passes out of Leo and into Virgo ~

  Today – on September 17, 2014 – the sun exits the constellation Leo and enters the constellation Virgo. The sun will remain in front of the constellation Virgo the Maiden until it enters the constellation Libra the Scales on October 31. When the equinox arrives on September 23, 2014, the sun will be in […]

Moon with Mars and Saturn at nightfall August 31

Moon with Mars and Saturn at nightfall August 31

  Above: Saturn, that dinky object to the right of the moon, reappears after disappearing behind the moon on May 22, 2007. Image credit: Andy You won’t want to miss the beautiful celestial attraction on the evening of August 31, as the rather wide waxing crescent moon, and the planets Mars and Saturn all bunch […]

Tips for enjoying 2014′s moon-drenched Perseid Meteor Shower

Tips for enjoying 2014′s moon-drenched Perseid Meteor Shower

~ It’s time again for the peak of Perseid meteor shower, often the best meteor shower of the year – definitely a sky highlight of our Northern Hemisphere summer. At its peak, the Perseids often rain down 50-100 or more meteors per hour. The bad news is that the bright supermoon is interfering with this […]

The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower ~  July 29, 2014

The Delta Aquarid Meteor Shower ~ July 29, 2014

The Delta Aquarid meteor shower – a long, rambling shower that’ll stretch out for weeks beyond the peak – does have a nominal peak and that is predicted for the hours before dawn on Tuesday, July 29, 2014. The most favorable viewing window begins about 1 a.m. (2 a.m. Daylight Saving Time) no matter where […]

Saturn Stationary and Moon Near Aldebaran ~  July 21-22, 2014

Saturn Stationary and Moon Near Aldebaran ~ July 21-22, 2014

~   Meteor season is here! When to watch. Today – July 21, 2014 – we talk about the evening planets. Then we talk about the morning planets, stars and waning moon. Evening planets. Astronomical almanacs list the planet Saturn as stationary on July 21, 2014 at 15 UTC. That is 10 a.m. on July […]

July 12 ~ Full Moon First of 3 Full-Moon Supermoons in 2014

July 12 ~ Full Moon First of 3 Full-Moon Supermoons in 2014

~ Image of micro-moon (smallest full moon) superimposed on supermoon (largest full moon): Stefano Sciarpetti In 2014, the July full moon presents the first full moon after the June 21 solstice. In North America we often call this full moon the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Hay Moon. Around this time of year, buck deer […]

July ~ Moon and Stars of the Celestial Gateway

July ~ Moon and Stars of the Celestial Gateway

  On July 6, 2014, the moon shines to the east of the star Spica and planet Mars, and is heading toward the planet Saturn. It’ll be close to Saturn on July 7. Right now, Saturn is between two stars that represented a celestial gateway to the early stargazers, the stars Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali in […]

Latest Sunsets of the Year ~ June 21 - 27,2014

Latest Sunsets of the Year ~ June 21 – 27,2014

~ For people living around 40o North latitude, the latest sunsets of the year happen in late June. And in the Southern Hemisphere, at 40o south latitude, it’s the year’s latest sunrises that happen around this time of year. That’s in spite of the fact that the longest (or shortest) day of the year falls […]

Solstice ~ June 21, 2014

Solstice ~ June 21, 2014

~   Happy June solstice, everyone! If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the June solstice is your signal to celebrate summer. The solstice takes place place today (June 21, 2014) at 10:51 Universal Time. That’s 5:51 a.m. central time in North America on June 21. See on the globe of Earth at right or the […]

Full Moon ~ June 12, 2014

Full Moon ~ June 12, 2014

  The June 12, 2014 full moon comes roughly one week before the June solstice. The moon turns astronomically full – resides most directly opposite the sun for the month – on June 13, at 4:11 Universal Time. At U.S. time zones, that means the moon will turn full on Friday, June 13 at 12:11 […]

June 2014 ~ Guide to the Five Visible Planets

June 2014 ~ Guide to the Five Visible Planets

~   Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn are up at nightfall in early June. A fifth planet, Venus, rises in the east as darkness gives way to dawn. Mercury is at the tail end of its best evening apparition of the year for the Northern Hemisphere in early June 2014. But each day, this world […]

The Moon, Jupiter and Mercury ~ May 31, 2014

The Moon, Jupiter and Mercury ~ May 31, 2014

    Look westward after sunset tonight, on May 31, and it’ll be hard to miss the waxing crescent moon and Jupiter, the fifth planet outward from the sun. After all, the moon and Jupiter rank as the brightest and second-brightest celestial bodies in the evening sky right now. Although the planet Venus is brighter […]

The Camelopardalid Meteor Shower ~ May 23 -24, 2014

The Camelopardalid Meteor Shower ~ May 23 -24, 2014

~ A brand new meteor shower could light up the pre-dawn sky on May 24, perhaps firing off hundreds of “shooting stars.” The shower would be spawned by debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR, which was discovered in 2004. It orbits the Sun once every five years, shuttling roughly between the orbits of Earth and Jupiter. A […]

Saturn and Scorpio Flower Full Moon ~ May 14 -15, 2014

Saturn and Scorpio Flower Full Moon ~ May 14 -15, 2014

~   The above sky chart shows the sky scene as darkness falls on May 14 for North America. In the world’s Eastern Hemisphere – Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand – you’ll see the moon closer to the planet Saturn at nightfall May 14. If you live in Australia or New Zealand, you […]

Saturn Closest, Brightest, Opposite The Sun ~ May 10th

Saturn Closest, Brightest, Opposite The Sun ~ May 10th

The best time of 2014 to see Saturn is around now. Our planet Earth flies between the sun and Saturn today – Saturday, May 10, 2014. So Saturn is rising at sunset around now and visible all night long. Look first for the bright planet near the moon on the night of May 10: Mars. […]

Moon & Jupiter ~ Eta Aquarid Meteors

Moon & Jupiter ~ Eta Aquarid Meteors

  The waxing crescent moon and planet Jupiter are beautiful in the western sky at dusk and early evening on May 4, 2014. They’re a wonderful prelude to the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, which will place in the predawn hours before sunrise on May 5 and 6. Eta Aquarid meteors are peppering the sky now, […]

Lyrid Meteors ~ April 22, 2014

Lyrid Meteors ~ April 22, 2014

  The 2014 Lyrid meteor shower will pepper the night on the evening of April 21 until before dawn April 22. The predawn hours are typically best – and April 22, Earth Day morning, is the peak this year. You might also want to try the evening hours this year, though, because the light of […]

Total Lunar Eclipse  ~  April 14 -15, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse ~ April 14 -15, 2014

  ~ The very bright red planet Mars shines close to the full moon on the night of the April 14-15 eclipse. What’s more, Mars is closest to Earth for the year on April 14. Read more about Mars at its closest on April 13 sky post. Above photo is a 2004 lunar eclipse by […]

April Skies ~ Jupiter & The Moon

April Skies ~ Jupiter & The Moon

The first two celestial objects to light up the evening twilight after sunset are the moon and the giant planet Jupiter. You should easily see both of them, starting at dusk, as these brilliant beauties rank as the brightest and second-brightest heavenly bodies in the April 2014 evening sky. When it comes to Jupiter, remember […]

Moon and Venus Conjunct ~

Moon and Venus Conjunct ~

  Get up early tomorrow morning, on March 27, and you’ll be rewarded with a picturesque view of the moon with the planet Venus in the eastern sky. The attraction will be worth getting up for, as the early morning sky show features the brightest and second-brightest orbs of nighttime – the moon and Venus, […]

2014 Equinox ~ March 20th

2014 Equinox ~ March 20th

~   The March 2014 equinox happens on March 20 at 16:57 Universal Time, which is 11:57 a.m. Central Daylight Time for us in the central U.S. The March equinox signals the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. A Chinese perspective on the spring equinox Equinox 2014 comes […]

Virgo Full Moon ~ March 16, 2014

Virgo Full Moon ~ March 16, 2014

  The moon turns full today – March 16, 2014 – at 17:08 UTC, or 12:08 p.m. Central Daylight Time. This March full moon is the third of 2014. It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s final full moon of winter and the Southern Hemisphere’s final full moon of summer. In the Northern Hemisphere, we often call this […]

Jupiter Moves Forward ~ March 6, 2014

Jupiter Moves Forward ~ March 6, 2014

~ Also, on the night of March 6, the waxing crescent moon shines close to the constellation Taurus the Bull’s two major signposts: the star Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster Jupiter and its moons as seen through a telescope on August 15, 2009. Click here for more information The planet Jupiter is said to […]

Double Cluster of Perseus in Northwest Evening Sky

Double Cluster of Perseus in Northwest Evening Sky

  To find the gorgeous Double Cluster in the constellation Perseus, face north to northwest as darkness falls this evening. Here you can find the Double Cluster in the constellation Perseus. These are two open stars clusters, known as “H” and “Chi” Persei (also called NGC 884 and 869). Finding the Double Cluster with the […]

Waning Moon with Saturn in Libra ~ February 21,2014

Waning Moon with Saturn in Libra ~ February 21,2014

The moon and the planet Saturn in front of the constellation Libra the Scales A larger view of the predawn sky on Friday, February 21. Saturn as viewed from the Cassini spacecraft. Image Credit: NASA Unless you’re a night owl, people at northerly latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere might want to wake up before dawn […]

Impress your Valentine ~ February Full Moon Names

Impress your Valentine ~ February Full Moon Names

~ The moon turns full today – February 14, 2014 – on what we in the U.S. celebrate as Valentine’s Day. Do you celebrate it in your country? If so, happy V-Day! If not … we love you anyway. Today’s full moon is the second full moon after the December solstice. It reaches the crest […]