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

You may need sunglasses for these rays

What to See with Your New Telescope

Maybe this gift-giving season you got a shiny new telescope to call your own. Congratulations — you could be on your way to discovering many amazing far things in the night sky. Although most of them are so far and faint that just finding and detecting them is the challenge! Whether your new scope is…

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Supermoon and Geminids Duke it Out

In a spectacular case of bad timing, the full Moon coincides with the annual Geminid meteor shower. Don't feel put out. There's still something for everyone, including a consolation prize.

Quasar Footprint

Quasar CTA 102: Historically Bright, Violently Variable

The normally faint quasar CTA 102, once thought to harbor an advanced civilization and made famous in a 1967 song by the Byrds, is currently bright enough to see in an 8-inch telescope.  In the history of SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, there have been two great false alarms. The first occurred in 1963…