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

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Catch Comet Lovejoy in Cassiopeia

Still bright and easier than ever to find, Comet Lovejoy continues to delight skywatchers. Watch as it cuts through Cassiopeia this week. Comet Lovejoy, now a long-time visitor to our night sky, lies poised at the limit of naked eye visibility. Hovering around magnitude 5.8, the comet looks like a faint star from a dark sky,...

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Crazy About Concentric Craters

With the Moon riding high this week, what better time to look for its three best-known yet enigmatic "ring" craters? We welcome back the waxing Moon this week. It's a chance for many of us to put dark-sky targets on the back burner and give some love to she who lights the night. During fall, the evening...

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Pleasures of Keeping an Astro Journal

Keeping a record of what you see in the telescope is not only fun but helps grow your observing skills. Learn how to start a journal and see how other amateurs keep theirs.  Do you write down what you saw after a session at the telescope? I've been doing it since I was a kid....

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Is There Such a Thing as a Random Meteor?

Meteor showers like the Perseids get all the press. But have you ever wondered where all the random meteors come from? We explore their origins.  We've all seen them. The sporadics. Those random meteors that flash across the sky on any old clear night. If you were to make a lifelong tally of meteors,...

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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.