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

In early evening on June 30th, all eyes will be on Venus and Jupiter, which create a dramatic "double star" in the western sky after sunset.Sky & Telescope diagram

Venus and Jupiter: Together at Last

The two brightest planets are gliding closer together in the early evening sky, and their celestial dance culminates with an ultra-close pairing on June 30th. Anyone who pays even cursory attention to the evening sky has surely noticed that the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, have been drawing closer together in the west...

See Pluto in 2015

It’s been a fantastic year for Pluto, and it’s only going to get more so. What better time to make your first (or second!) attempt at spotting the dwarf planet? Read on for a few tips to help you locate this dim object in the summer sky. This is an exciting year for Pluto....

Uranus and Neptune in 2015

This article gives directions for finding Uranus and Neptune from June 2015 through March 2016. If you've never seen these somewhat dim planets before, you might want to read our general instructions and history of their discoveries first. Neptune and Uranus are in Aquarius and Pisces, respectively, throughout this period. Uranus is fewer than...

Dazzling and dizzying fast

Will We Still Recognize the Sky in 27,800 AD?

With Arcturus as our touchstone, we set off in a virtual time machine to visit the sky of the distant future. Bright orange Arcturus twinkles high in the southeastern sky at dusk this week. Its slow climb from the northeastern horizon every March heralds the arrival of spring. Earth's revolution around the Sun ensures that Arcturus follows...

Saturn Hubble for ST

Splashy Saturn At Its Best and Brightest

Saturn reaches opposition this week, offering the best view of it we've had in years. This guide will help you explore the ringed planet's many charms. "That doesn't look real." "I've never seen anything like it." "Wowwwww ...!" Sound familiar? Then you must have shown somebody Saturn through a telescope. Or maybe one of those describes your...

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Visit Venus in Its Darkest Hour

Keep your eye on the prize in the western sky. Venus sets exceptionally late this month, presenting skywatchers with several unusual observing opportunities. This season's apparition of Venus has been a happy one for northern hemisphere skywatchers as the planet continues to part from the Sun and increase in brightness. In May, Venus stands high in Gemini, an...