Observing

The night sky is always changing. Observers watch planets dance in the evening, stars explode as supernovae, and new comets grace dawn skies. Here we bring together all the stargazing tips and resources you’ll need to see the glories that light up the heavens. Our Sky at a Glance column guides you to the best celestial sights of the week, our astronomy podcast provides a monthly audio tour, and our interactive tools and guides are useful resources to aid your observing at any time.

This Week's Sky at a Glance logo

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, May 5 – 13

  Friday, May 5 • Above the Moon tonight is Leo's tail star, Denebola (by about a fist at arm's length). Far to the Moon's lower left at dusk is bright Jupiter, with Spica farther on, as shown here. Saturday, May 6 • The Moon tonight forms a gently curving arc with, to its lower…

Just Saying Hello

See a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid From Your Backyard

Get ready for 2014 JO25, the biggest asteroid to fly this close to Earth since 2004. Good news — even a 3-inch telescope will show it! Update: See below for a radar image and animation of 2014 JO25 captured by NASA's Goldstone Solar System Radar on April 18, 2017. Every week, a handful of new Earth-approaching asteroids…

Curlicue Madness

Jupiter Close, Bright, and Up All Night

It's easy to like Jupiter. No other planet offers such a bounty of amazing sights through the telescope, especially this week when it reaches opposition.  On April 7th, the largest planet in the solar system will rise at sunset and shine all night. That's the date Jupiter lines up behind the Earth in opposition. The…

Bright Supernova Beckons

Bright Supernova Erupts in NGC 5643 in Lupus

A recently discovered supernova in Lupus now shines around magnitude +11.5, bright enough to see in a modest telescope. With photos and maps, we'll get you there. I wished I lived in Georgia and not just for the peach trees and warmer weather. No, I'd be able to get up early tomorrow morning to marvel at…