Oct 10

Sky Report: October 12 – October 18

Last week, on the 6th, Mars was closest to earth. This week, on the 13th, it’s at “opposition”, and both events are in the news. What’s the difference? Very little, in reality. Mars is at opposition when it’s directly opposite the sun, and that’s when it would be closest to earth if both our orbits […]

Oct 6

Sky Report: October 5 – October 11

Mars is in the news this week because it is now closest to earth, so it’s at its biggest and brightest. The moment when it’s closest is 8:19 on the morning of Tuesday, October 6th, when it is 38,568,243 miles away. The news media will play up the 6th and advise you to look at […]

Sep 25

Sky Report: September 28 – October 4

The full moon on Thursday, October 1st (at 3:05 pm MDT for those who need precision) is the Harvest Moon, which so called because its light helped farmers harvest their fields into the night, especially important before tractors had headlights. The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox (discussed in last […]

Sep 20

Sky Report September 21 – September 27

The seasons officially change at 7:31 am MDT on Tuesday, September 22, the autumn equinox, when summer ends and autumn begins. There’s nothing to see directly, but you do experience it in a sense: on the equinox the sun rises due east and sets due west and the days and nights are each 12 hours […]

Sep 12

Sky Report September 14 – September 20

Often there are no planets in the evening sky, or only one. Now there are three – plus one in the morning sky. All four are about as bright as they ever get, so don’t take this abundance of planets for granted; this is a special time. The first two planets you’ll see are Jupiter […]

Sep 5

Sky Report September 6 – September 13

The sky is always changing. Some things happen quickly, like a solar eclipse or a meteor. Other changes happen infinitely slowly, like the rotation of the Milky Way. But many changes take place over weeks and months, and people with short attention spans will miss them but regular sky watchers can follow the progress. One […]

Aug 31

Sky Report August 31 – September 6

The moon is full on the 1st – if you live in Utah. It’s full on the 2nd if you live in Chicago. Why the difference? Start by asking “for how long is the moon full?” The answer is the same as for the question “how long is it noon” – just an instant. The […]

Aug 22

Sky Report August 24 – August 30

M83 - Southern Pinwheel Galaxy

As the sky is growing dark the planet Jupiter appears in the southeast, followed soon after by Saturn a short distance to the left. These planets are 8° apart this month, but that gap will narrow dramatically in months to come until they’re almost touching (as your eye sees them) in late December. Note their […]

Aug 15

Sky Report August 17 – August 23

M83 - Southern Pinwheel Galaxy

This week and the next two months are a great time to watch the planets since the four brightest are out at one time or another although not all together. Here’s where they are this week. Jupiter and Saturn appear low in the southeast as the sky grows dark, which is around 9 PM. Jupiter […]

Aug 10

Stellar Vista Observatory Sky Report August 10 – August 16

Photo: Meteors radiate from the northeast but appear all over the sky. THE event this week is the annual Perseid Meteor Shower which peaks on the evening of Tuesday the 11th. Meteors, also called “shooting stars” are the flash of light you see when a piece of dust from outer space falls through our atmosphere. […]