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, July 20 – 28

  Comet PanSTARRS, C/2017 S3, has unexpectedly brightened to about 8th magnitude. It awaits your scope, or maybe even big binoculars, up in the northeastern sky before the beginning of dawn. See Bob King's article and finder charts: PanSTARRS Comet, Rocked by Outburst, Goes Green . Friday, July 20 • The waxing gibbous Moon shines…

This Week's Sky at a Glance logo

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, July 13 – 21

  Friday, July 13 • Cassiopeia is now well past its annual bottoming out due north. Look for its W pattern climbing low in the north-northeast after dark. The farther north you live, the higher it will be. Saturday, July 14 • As twilight fades, see if you can catch the Moon over Mercury very…

This Week's Sky at a Glance logo

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, July 6 – 14

  Friday, July 6 • As twilight fades, watch for Regulus coming into view 3½° to the left of Venus, as shown here. • After dark the central stars of the constellation Lyra, forming a small triangle and parallelogram, dangle to the lower right from bright Vega high in the east. The two brightest stars…

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, June 29 – July 7

  Friday, June 29 • The waning gibbous Moon rises in the east-southeast in late twilight. An hour later, watch for Mars to clear the horizon about a fist at arm's length to the Moon's lower right (for North America). Saturday, June 30 • By late evening the Moon and Mars are arisen together, low…

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, June 22 – 30

  Friday, June 22 • The waxing gibbous Moon this evening shines with bright Jupiter to its lower left and fainter Spica to its lower right. Saturday, June 23 • The bright "star" with the Moon tonight is Jupiter. Although they look rather close together, Jupiter is currently 1,800 times farther away — and it's…

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, May 25 – June 2

  Friday, May 25 • As the waxing gibbous Moon crosses the sky tonight, Spica hangs below it, as shown in early twilight here. • The Arch of Spring spans the western sky in late twilight, arching over Venus. Pollux and Castor form the Arch's top; they're lined up over Venus roughly horizontally. Look well…