Learning About the Sky

Can you locate the Big Dipper tonight? How about the constellation Hercules? The articles below will provide a few astronomy basics, which will help you to get your bearings on the heavens so that star patterns and constellations will become your familiar friends, allowing you to find observing targets with ease.

With the right “road map to the stars,” (a.k.a. one of our free star charts) you’ll be able to use your base knowledge to find interesting stellar pairings and locate “deep-sky objects” — the star clusters, galaxies, and nebulas that binoculars and telescopes will reveal. Once you’ve found the Big Dipper, it’s easy to find two binary pairs. Similarly, once you know the Hercules constellation, it’s easy to find the globular cluster hidden within.

No one can help you learn your way around the night sky like Sky & Telescope can.

Time Travel for Skywatchers

Time travel is one of the best things about astronomy. Check out two websites that give skywatchers a more visceral sense of stellar distances and how constellations change shape across the sweep of time.