Sep 24

Sky Report: September 25 – October 1, 2023

This week we’re back to the planets. If you’re up before the sky gets too bright with the approaching dawn you can’t fail to marvel at Venus, the brilliant “morning star” well up in the east. Venus rises 3-1/3 hours before the sun so you can see it against a fully dark sky and then […]

Sep 18

Sky Report: September 18 – 24

If you are within this band the moon will be silhouetted in front of the sun on the morning of October 14 in an annular eclipse; if you’re near it the eclipse will be nearly total. From This week I want to provide basic information about the near-total eclipse coming up in a few […]

Sep 9

Sky Report: September 11 – 17

This is a negative map of the sky around Uranus; it’s easier to see stars and planets as black dots on a white background. The faintest stars shown are ½ as bright as Uranus. These planets move slowly so the map is useful all month, and the view spans 35°. Graphic created with Comet […]

Sep 2

Sky Report: September 4 – 10, 2023

The eastern sky 45 minutes before sunrise on September 8th showing the comet, Venus, the moon, and the locations of the constellations. Graphic created with A comet discovered only last month *might* become bright enough to see with the naked eye this week; in any case you should easily see it with binoculars. Named […]

Aug 19

Sky Report: August 21 – 27

Saturn had the same orientation (rings tilted 9° from our line of sight) as this year when the Hubble Space Telescope photographed it in 2011. Raw data courtesy NASA STScI, processed image © Ted Stryk. You might see relatively faint Mars only a few degrees above the west horizon a half-hour after sunset, but eyes […]

Aug 13

Sky Report: August 14 – 20

Since Venus left us a month ago Mars has been the sole planet in the west in the evening sky, and the 18th is probably your last chance to see it until next March. On that night look for the very thin crescent moon, only 6% illuminated, and only 9° above the western horizon 30 […]

Aug 5

Sky Report: August 7 – 13

Perseid meteors. Credit Rafael Schmall/Universities Space Research Association. Choosing the topic for this week’s Sky Report is simple – the annual Perseid Meteor Shower which peaks on the night of Saturday the 12th and the morning of the 13th – a weekend even! Meteors are bits of dust or rock that came from elsewhere in […]

Jul 29

Sky Report: July 31 – August 6, 2023

What happened to Venus? It was reliably there in the evening sky for months, and then it quickly disappeared. This is easier to understand with a diagram than with words alone, so refer to the diagram which is largely self-explanatory. Venus orbits faster than the earth on an inside track, so it catches and passes […]

Jul 24

Sky Report: July 24 – 30

The western sky on Monday, July 24th, 35 minutes after sunset. The star Regulus is above Venus and the star Spica is near the moon. Mercury has moved next to Regulus on Friday the 28th. Graphic created with Say good-by to Mars, Venus, and Mercury in the evening sky. Mars and Venus have been […]

Jul 21

Sky Report: July 17 – 23

The western sky 45 minutes after sunset on the 19th. The stars of Leo are included. Graphic created with SkySafariAstronomy. Although we’re about to lose the evening planets they’ll go out with a bang. The night of the 19th is the best night to look, but all week they put on an interesting and ever-changing […]