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

The blank Sun seen on January 12 by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. SDO/HMI

The Spotless Sun

The Sun has been unusually quiet lately. Since the start of 2017, only a single tiny sunspot has made a brief appearance on the solar disk.

Total Solar Eclipse over Easter Island

Solar and Lunar Eclipses in 2017

It won't be a great year for lunar eclipses, with a deep penumbral event on February 11th and a partial on August 7th. But an annular solar eclipse is observable from the Southern Hemisphere on February 26th, and a total solar eclipse crosses the continental U.S. on August 21st.

Leonid fireball from 2001

Meteor Showers in 2017

Everyone enjoys the brief and sometimes dazzling streaks of light from meteors, sometimes called "shooting stars." Sky & Telescope predicts that the two best meteor showers in 2017 will be the Quadrantids in early January and the Geminids in mid-December.

You may need sunglasses for these rays

What to See with Your New Telescope

Maybe this gift-giving season you got a shiny new telescope to call your own. Congratulations — you could be on your way to discovering many amazing far things in the night sky. Although most of them are so far and faint that just finding and detecting them is the challenge! Whether your new scope is…

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.