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.

Storm of the Millenium

A Jupiter Almanac

Find information on observing Jupiter during its 2016 - 2017 apparition, including information on its moons and Great Red Spot transit predictions.

Here Comes the Harvest Moon!

This month's Harvest Moon will be up early to light the night as well as act as a beacon for watching the annual fall bird migration through a small telescope.

Simply extraordinary

Explore the Veil Nebula

The Veil Nebula, the tattered remains of an ancient supernova explosion, is one of the most spectacular objects in the night sky. Did you know it has two dozen parts visible in amateur telescopes?

This Week's Sky at a Glance logo

This Week’s Sky at a Glance, August 24 – September 1

  Friday, August 24 • For yet another week, four bright planets await your view at once as twilight fades. From right to left, they are Venus very low in the west-southwest, Jupiter in the southwest (upper left of Venus), Saturn in the south a little higher than Jupiter, and bright Mars lower in the…

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, August 3 – 11

  Friday, August 3 • This week four bright planets shine at once during twilight, if you have low horizons in the right places. From right to left, they're Venus low in the west, Jupiter higher in the southwest, Saturn at about the same height in the south-southeast, and brilliant Mars low in the southeast.…

The Fun Begins at M22

Add a dash of random to your night sky viewing plans and you're guaranteed an adventure. We'll start ours with the famous globular M22 and see where it takes us.

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, July 27 – August 4

  Friday, July 27 • Full Moon (exact at 4:20 p.m. EDT). Full Moon is opposition Moon, so it shines with brilliant Mars, which is just a day past its opposition. Mars right now is 143 times farther from us than the Moon (and it's twice as large). Its surface is covered with rusty dark…

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This Week’s Sky at a Glance, July 20 – 28

  Friday, July 20 • The waxing gibbous Moon shines over Jupiter this evening, as shown here. Left of Jupiter by just 2° is the wide binocular double star Alpha Librae, magnitudes 2.8 and 5.1. The Moon is 1.3 light-seconds distant from us, and Jupiter is 44 light-minutes in its background. The two stars of…