The Greeks called them planētēs meaning “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 just as fascinating as they are. Among the most brilliant objects in the sky, some can be a great place to start your observing journey. Imagine Galileo peering up at Jupiter through his small telescope only to find four moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) orbiting around it, the first proof we did not live in a geocentric universe.

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.

Path of Pluto in 2015 (wide field)

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.

View of Saturn through a large backyard telescope

How to See 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 see Saturn and all it has to offer! Saturn is entering the early evening sky this spring just as Jupiter begins its exit in the west. Here's a quick guide to…

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 the…