Celestial Events

Radiant of the Quadrantid meteors

Catch the Quadrantids in Moonlight

Undeniably one of the year's best, the Quadrantid meteor shower peaks on the morning of Thursday, January 3rd. The best viewing opportunity comes between 1 a.m. and dawn, but you'll have competition from a waning gibbous Moon.

Citizen Sky Wants You!

Backyard astronomers of all types and experience levels can participate in a real-world science project — and help solve a mystery involving the star Epsilon Aurigae that's puzzled astronomers since 1821.

Wisps of Comet Elenin

Comet Elenin’s Last Gasp

It was never going to be an "extinction-level" threat to Earth, but skygazers had hoped that Comet Elenin (C/2010 X1) would put on a decent show in October's predawn skies. In the end, however, it just went "poof".

Comet Garradd's two tails

Comet Garradd in Transition

A decently bright visitor from the solar system’s fringe has lingered in the evening sky for months. As it nears perihelion, Comet Garradd (C/2009 P1) will soon be seen better in northern morning skies before dawn.

Comet Garradd and M92

Comet Garradd Stays the Course

Comet Garradd (C/2009 P1) was closest to Earth in early March. So the moonless period in mid-March is your best remaining chance to view this remarkable comet, which is now conveniently placed in the evening sky.

Comet Hergenrother flares up

Comet Hergenrother Puts on a Show

Astronomers predicted that Comet 168P/Hergenrother wouldn't get any brighter than 15th magnitude this month. But the comet had other ideas: an ongoing outburst has brightened it to within reach of medium-size backyard telescopes.

Comet Lovejoy from the ISS

Comet Lovejoy Keeps on Giving

Its place in astronomical folklore already secure, having skirted very near the Sun and survived last week. But resilient Comet Lovejoy (C/2011 W3) is still strutting its stuff — with twin tails nearly 20° long — in predawn skies for observers in the Southern Hemisphere. It's even drawing a crowd aboard the International Space Station!

Comet Lovejoy on December 3rd

Comet Lovejoy’s Date With Destiny

Discovered in late November by a veteran Australian comet-hunter, C/2011 W3 is a kamikaze comet that will pass just 116,000 miles from the Sun on December 16th. Will it dazzle us as it falls inward? Will it survive its close brush with the Sun? Amateur astronomers worldwide are holding their collective breath!

Comet Lovejoy rounds the Sun

Comet Lovejoy: A Solar Survivor

The odds were stacked against it, but a comet discovered just two weeks ago has passed just 116,000 miles from the Sun's surface and — like a celestial phoenix — reemerged into view. Here's the latest on what veteran observer John Bortle calls "one of the most extraordinary events in cometary history."

Comet Pan-STARRS in March 2013

Comet Pan-STARRS: Still on Track

The inbound comet C/2011 L4, discovered last year, has been brightening steadily the past few months. It could still fizzle — or it could become a pretty bauble in post-sunset skies next March.

Count the Stars to Save the Sky

Schoolchildren, families, and citizen scientists around the world will gaze skyward after dark from October 20th to November 3rd. The Great World Wide Star Count, now in its second year, helps scientists map light pollution globally while educating participants about the stars.