This year features three celestial cover-ups that favor North Americans: total lunar eclipses on April 15th and October 8th, and a partial solar eclipse on October 23rd.
Start the new year right with a little evening stargazing! Venus is dropping from sight low in the west just as Jupiter and mighty Orion are ascending in the east.
Start the new year right by viewing an excellent but short-lived meteor shower, called the Quadrantids, which peaks on Friday, January 3rd.
Venus usually appears pretty boring through a telescope. But from mid-December to mid-February it's a spectacularly long, thin crescent.
Astronomers report that a nearly forgotten meteor shower — famous for its prodigious "storm" in 1872 but long since inactive — has displayed surprising activity.
Bits of rock from a fried asteroid flash across the night sky in the mid-December sky — but bright moonlight will diminish the performance.
Comet ISON has come and gone, but lovely Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) is still going strong. It is now at or near peak brightness, and well placed in the Northern Hemisphere's predawn sky.
A new star near Alpha and Beta Centauri peaked at about magnitude 3.6 on December 5th, faded, re-peaked ten days later, and has been bumping around oddly since.
After more than a year of anticipation, there is no dazzle, only a dud.
December's crystal-clear skies offer Venus low in the west after sunset, a “tower of brilliance” (including Jupiter) rising in the east, and the prospect of a nice showing by Comet ISON in the predawn sky early in the month.
Only a dim, fading, dispersing cloud of dust remains of the once grand Comet ISON. Nothing will be visible in the December dawns. Skilled electronic imagers and the Hubble Space Telescope may or may not detect the last trace when it enters a dark sky in mid-December.
It won't be easy by a long shot, but it just might be possible to spot the comet in broad daylight as it passes nearest the Sun.
Tiny, greenish white, and harder to see every day, Comet ISON is descending toward the sunrise horizon and its November 28th perihelion. This is your last chance to catch it before its fateful solar broiling.
For the more recent updates, see SkyandTelescope.com/ISON.
Veteran comet observer John Bortle reports that Comet ISON is undergoing a major outburst. It was six times brighter when he observed it this morning (November 14th) than on the previous morning.
Astronomers confirm that debris from Comet 209P/LINEAR should create a sky show on May 24, 2014 — but it looks less likely that a “storm” is in the works.
While Comet ISON is brightening rapidly, Comet Lovejoy (C/2013 R1) is far more impressive right now, and also much better placed in the sky. It's shown here passing Messier 44, the Beehive Cluster.
From high over the western Atlantic to the sandstorm-swept plains of northern Kenya, adventurous eclipse-chasers converged along the Moon’s ultra-narrow shadow on November 3rd to get fleeting views of the Sun’s blackened disk.
Returning at last to standard time, you'll find Venus low in the west at sunset, Jupiter rising in late evening, and the winged horse Pegasus galloping across the November night sky.
Whether you're new to stargazing or an old hand, you'll find our annual SkyWatch publication the perfect guide to stargazing throughout the year. Check out a sample sky chart for free!
Much of the world can see at least a partial eclipse of the Sun on November 3rd. Near North America's Eastern Seaboard, you can catch the partial eclipse in progress at sunrise.
Before dawn on Friday, October 25th, observers along the East Coast have an opportunity to watch the large asteroid Ceres cover a faint star — an event that could aid the forthcoming arrival of NASA's Dawn spacecraft.
Sky & Telescope is now accepting submissions to the Comet ISON Photo Contest!
Next door to Comet ISON in the eastern pre-dawn sky, Comet C/2012 X1 (LINEAR) exploded without warning from magnitude 14 to 8.
If you live along the U.S. midsection, from California to the Mid-Atlantic states, you've got a chance to watch a star occulted by the binary asteroid Patroclus on October 20–21.