Observing

The sky is always changing. Planets dance in the evening, stars explode as supernovae, and new comets grace dawn skies. Here we bring together all the astronomy tips and resources you’ll need to observe the glories that light up the heavens.

Sky at a Glance – Our most popular column. Find out what’s up in the sky tonight!
Sky Tour Podcasts – Discover your night sky in a guided monthly tour led by J. Kelly Beatty
Interactive Observing Tools – Plan your observing tonight with our sky chart and other tools
Celestial Objects to Observe – A treasure chest of observing advice categorized by object type
Astronomy and Stargazing Projects – Find blueprints for observing projects

geminids-2012-catalin-padraru-skytel_library-480x274

Supermoon and Geminids Duke it Out

In a spectacular case of bad timing, the full Moon coincides with the annual Geminid meteor shower. Don't feel put out. There's still something for everyone, including a consolation prize.

Quasar Footprint

Quasar CTA 102: Historically Bright, Violently Variable

The normally faint quasar CTA 102, once thought to harbor an advanced civilization and made famous in a 1967 song by the Byrds, is currently bright enough to see in an 8-inch telescope.  In the history of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, there have been two great false alarms. The first occurred in 1963…

Supermoon_70px

What Is A Supermoon?

The perpetuation of the supermoon myth is mostly motivated by desire for publicity. But much of what we call the supermoon is just our eyes playing tricks on us.

This Week's Sky at a Glance logo

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, October 28 – November 5

Friday, October 28 • In twilight this evening, Saturn, brilliant Venus, and Antares form a nearly vertical, curving line low in the southwest — in that order top to bottom. Yesterday they formed an almost straight line. Watch their configuration change rapidly this week, as Venus speeds eastward (upper left) with respect to the other…

nova-sgr-oct-2016-st

8th-magnitude Nova in Sagittarius

A nova in Sagittarius, discovered a few nights ago by a Japanese amateur, has become bright enough to see in binoculars. Update: As of October 31st, the nova had been holding at about magnitude 8.0 for a week. It's temporarily designated TCP J18102829-2729590. This is not to be confused with another nova just above the…