Author Archives: Alan MacRobert

About Alan MacRobert

Sky & Telescope senior editor Alan MacRobert has been covering all aspects of astronomy since 1982.

Planck_polarization_image_of_BICEP2_field

BICEP’s Big Bang Finding Reduced to Dust

Yes, it was too good to be true. The cosmic "discovery of the century" last March has officially blown up. Or will blow up next week when a new analysis of polarization in the cosmic microwave background is officially released. The excitement burst onto the world 10 months ago when the BICEP microwave background...

Lovejoy-and-M79_Schur

Where To See Comet Lovejoy Tonight

The new Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2, should brighten from 5th to 4th magnitude from late December through January as it climbs into excellent viewing position for the Northern Hemisphere, high in the dark winter sky.

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Binocular Comet Lovejoy Heading Our Way

A new Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2, is heading our way. It may brighten to 5th magnitude from late December through much of January as it climbs into excellent viewing position for the Northern Hemisphere, high in the dark winter sky.

Sky at a Glance logo

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, December 19 – 27

Some daily sky sights among the ever-changing Moon, planets, and stars. Friday, December 19 Have you ever tried to catch Sirius actually rising? If you can find a good view down to the east-southeast horizon, watch for Sirius emerging about two fists at arm's length below Orion's Belt. It now rises sometime around 7:30...

This Week's Sky at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, December 12 – 20

Some daily sky sights among the ever-changing Moon, planets, and stars. Friday, December 12 This is the time of year when, around 8 or 9 p.m., Cassiopeia stands very high in the north as a flattened letter M. When will you see it perfectly level? This mostly depends on how far east or west...

This Week's Sky at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, December 5 – 13

Some daily sky sights among the ever-changing Moon, planets, and stars. Friday, December 5 The Moon is essentially full this evening and Saturday evening both (it's exactly full at 7:27 a.m. Saturday morning EST.) On Friday evening in the Americas, look for Aldebaran less than about 2° from the Moon. Watch the Moon shift...

This Week's Sky at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, Nov. 28 – Dec. 6

Some daily sky sights among the ever-changing Moon, planets, and stars. Friday, November 28 First-quarter Moon (exactly first-quarter at 5:06 a.m. Saturday morning EST). Look this evening for Fomalhaut far to the Moon's lower left, and for Enif, the nose of Pegasus, almost as far to the Moon's upper right. Saturday, November 29 The...

This Week's Sky at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, November 14 – 22

Some daily sky sights among the ever-changing Moon, planets, and stars. Friday, November 14 Keep an eye on little Mars in the southwest at dusk. It will keep hanging in there month after month through this winter, as constellations of the zodiac slide behind it. Last-quarter Moon (exact at 10:16 a.m. EST). The Moon...

This Week's Sky at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, November 7 – 15

Some daily sky sights among the ever-changing stars and planets. Friday, November 7 The Moon, just past full, rises in the east at dusk. Once it climbs high, look for orange Aldebaran to its lower left and the Pleiades to its upper left. Catch Mercury in Saturday's dawn, as shown here. Saturday, November 8...

This Week's Sky at a Glance

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, October 24 – November 1

Some daily sky sights among the ever-changing stars and planets The monster sunspot continues in view; see "This Week's Planet Roundup" below. Friday, October 24 As the stars come out, Deneb is nearly straight overhead for skywatchers at mid-northern latitudes. Brighter Vega is west of the zenith. Altair is farther from the zenith toward...