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

Old rock sprinkled atop new

Blue Moon Rayed-Crater Blowout

Like "catching some rays"? This weekend's Blue Moon invites us to explore the beauty and dazzle of crater rays, the tracks left by powerful impacts in the not-so-distant past.

Green-striped night

Why We Can See In The Dark

In search of a pitch black night? Don't expect to find it on Earth. Thanks to starlight, zodiacal light, and especially airglow, true darkness doesn't exist.

Pegasus Galaxy Groups

Observers can create their own observing challenge based on "A Few of My Favorite Things," featured in the October 2015 issue of Sky & Telescope. Contributing Editor Ted Forte has compiled a table to guide your hunt (download as a .pdf or an Excel file). The table gives an estimate of difficulty based on...

Going Deep: Delphinus

In the October 2015 issue, Sky & Telescope contributing editor Ken Hewitt-White provided some tips for "going deep" in the area of NGC 7006 in the constellation Delphinus. Here, we offer a few additional images to help you navigate the region. We're also showing downloadable tables of the target objects for printing and/or uploading...

Barnard's footsteps

Dive Into Scutum’s Dark Nebulae

One of the smallest constellations in the sky hosts one of the richest concentrations of dark nebulae. Join me for a dip in these dark pools from which the next generation of stars will be born.

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...