Planets

The Greeks called them “wanderers.” From Earth the other planets of our solar system look like roaming stars, but thanks to telescopes and spacecraft we know these pinpricks of light are actually worlds unto themselves, many with moons that are just as fascinating as they are.

Here you’ll find observing guides for the other planets orbiting the Sun, from bright Venus and red Mars to kingly Jupiter and elegant Saturn. We have software tools to help you find which planets or moons are visible tonight, when, and where. And we have guides highlighting neat features to look for on the planets when you do nab them in a telescope.

View of Saturn through a large backyard telescope

See Splendid Saturn at Its Best

Your first view of Saturn with a telescope can introduce you to the riches of stargazing — and now is the perfect time to observe it. Saturn is entering the early evening sky this spring just as Jupiter begins its exit in the west. Here's a quick guide to spotting the ringed planet by...

Why is Jupiter's Great Red Spot shrinking?

Jupiter’s Not-So-Great Red Spot

Astronomers don't know why Jupiter's iconic Great Red Spot has been gradually shrinking since the 1800s — or why the downsizing has accelerated during the past two years. Update: On May 15th, NASA released newly taken images of the Great Red Spot (at bottom below) to show its declining size since 1995. Thanks to...

Saturn on Feb. 23

A Saturn Almanac

Spectacular Saturn is a perennial favorite of telescope users everywhere. Click here to find printable data on the positions of Saturn's rings and planets.