Observing our Solar System

Crescent Moon and Venus at sunset

Could the lunar crescent be seen in a telescope at new Moon?

Is the Moon’s orbit inclined sufficiently that, when it misses the Sun by the greatest amount north (or south), the lunar crescent could be seen in a telescope at new Moon? Probably not. The inclination of the Moon’s orbit to the ecliptic varies from 5.0° to 5.3°. French astronomer André Danjon (1890–1967) showed that...

This SOHO shot sunspot group 963.was captured on July 11th by the craft's Michelson Doppler Imager.

Spotty Weather

There's a cool sunspot group visible right now. If the weather is clear, go grab a safe solar viewer and check it out for yourself.

Aurigid meteors

Aurigids Aplenty!

Just as predicted, the Aurigid shower delivered a burst of meteors created by particles shed by a comet more than 2,000 years ago.

Venus Express

Call for Images of Venus

Venus Express project scientists are inviting amateur and professional astronomers to contribute Earth-based images of the planet made at infrared, visible, and ultraviolet wavelengths.

The Moon passes 1½° north of Mars around midnight EST on the night of November 26–27.

Mars Is Here!

The Red Planet is now nearly as bright — and appears nearly as big through a telescope — as it will any time this year.