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

Rich Cluster in a Rich Neighborhood

Midnight Meridian Morsels

Late June offers a grab bag of clusters and nebulae "lined up" at the midnight hour. Time your southern deep-sky viewing with meridian passage and you'll be a happy camper.

Hercules Galaxy Cluster.

Hercules Galaxy Cluster: Going Deep

To aid your observing endeavor, Contributing Editor Steve Gottlieb has provided an expanded table of galaxies, with their position angles, visual magnitudes, size, and positions.

Mercury transit 2016 in H-alpha light

Mercury’s Slow Glide Across the Sun

May 9th's transit of Mercury is now history. Countless amateurs — and professionals — watched as the innermost planet had its day in the Sun. It's sometimes the curse of being involved in astronomical outreach that I miss all the action during an important celestial event. For example, I never got to see Comet Shoemaker-Levy…