Dec 13

Sky Report: December 14 – December 20

The best naked-eye “event” of the year is happening now, although as I repeatedly stress, much that happens in the sky is a process that happens over an extended period of time rather than an event that happens on one night only. Examples are the close approach of Mars this fall, Comet NEOWISE this summer, […]

Dec 6

Sky Report: December 7 – December 13

THE astronomical event of the year is unfolding in front of our eyes and you don’t even need a telescope to appreciate it. That’s the ultra-close conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn which has been unfolding for months and which reaches a climax on the 21st. I keep emphasizing that planetary motions are a process, not […]

Nov 28

Sky Report: November 30 – December 6

There’s an eclipse of the full moon on Monday morning, the 30th, but you won’t see it, or at best you won’t see much. A lunar eclipse happens when the moon moves into the shadow of the earth. If you were on the moon, you’d see earth move in front of the sun. As opposed […]

Nov 21

Sky Report: November 23 – November 29

Three planets grace the evening sky: Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Mars is brighter than any star in the evening sky, and it’s almost half-way up the eastern sky. Many early peoples associated its reddish color with blood and war. The nearly-full moon is 5° below Mars on Wednesday the 25th. At the same time Jupiter […]

Nov 15

Sky Report: November 16 – November 22

For months Jupiter and Saturn have been near each other in the evening sky, and they’re still there – now a quarter of the way up the southwest sky as darkness falls. Jupiter is brilliant and fainter Saturn is just 4° to the upper left of Jupiter. They’re a nice pair that are growing closer […]

Nov 7

Sky Report: November 9 – November 15

All five naked-eye planets are visible tonight, three in the evening sky and two in the morning (three in the morning if you count Mars twice). Uranus and Neptune are out too, in the vicinity of Mars, if you have a telescope. This is an unusual bounty. Mars and Jupiter are the brightest objects in […]

Nov 1

Sky Report: November 2 – November 8

The time changed by one hour on Sunday morning the 1st, and now it gets dark one hour earlier – good for stargazing – and it gets light one hour earlier – bad for sleeping in. You don’t have to stay up late to see the stars and planets. We have three wonderfully bright planets […]

Oct 25

Sky Report: October 26 – November 1

Often there are no planets in the evening sky, but this autumn we are fortunate to have three – plus one in the morning. Here’s where they are. Mars and Jupiter are equally bright and they’re the first to appear as the sky grows dark. They’re on opposite sides of the sky; Mars rises in […]

Oct 19

Sky Report: October 19 – October 25

Mars is past its closest approach and is fading very slowly as the earth, on a faster orbit around the sun, leaves it behind, but Mars remains especially bright through November. It now rises slightly before sunset so you can see it low in the east once the sky is dark. The best time to […]

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 […]