Nov 28

Sky Report: November 28 – December 4

Every 26 months the earth catches and passes Mars, which being more distant from the sun moves slower in its orbit. On the 30th we’re as close to Mars as we will come this time around, and then Mars is 50 million miles distant. Mars has been getting brighter and rising earlier, and now it’s […]

Nov 19

Sky Report: November 21-27

This week we’re back to planets, with a challenge! Read on. Three bright planets are in the evening sky. Don’t take this for granted – in a few months there will be none. In order of brightness they are Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. Jupiter is the brightest thing in the night sky other than the […]

Nov 12

Sky Report: November 14-21

An unusual meteor shower happens this week, and although we’re not likely to see much the story is interesting. Meteor showers happen when the earth passes near the orbit of a comet that has been shedding dust. That dust follows in the orbit of the comet, and when we plow through it, the dust falls […]

Nov 8

Sky Report: November 7-13

The highlight this week is a total eclipse of the moon, the second this year since the total eclipse on May 16. That eclipse happened in the early evening on a warm night and was widely observed; this eclipse happens early on the morning of Tuesday, November 8, when it is downright chilly, and it […]

Oct 29

Sky Report: October 31 – November 6

There are three bright planets in the evening sky, and this week and next the moon passes each one in turn. The first planet the moon visits is Saturn, on November 1, when the distant planet sits 5° straight above the moon. You’ll see both together in most binoculars. Binoculars will show a surprising amount […]

Oct 24

Sky Report: October 24 – 30

There’s a fine partial eclipse of the sun on the morning of the 25th – but you won’t see it unless you’re in Europe, the Middle East, or western Asia. The middle of the eclipse is at 4:49 a.m. MDT, but at that moment — when the moon is in front of the sun — […]

Oct 14

Sky Report: October 17 – 23

The highlight of this week is a modest meteor shower which peaks on the morning of the 21st. These meteors are debris shed by Comet Halley as the sun heats the frozen dirty iceball that is the comet, thaws it, and liberates dust particles mixed in with its ice. It’s called the Orionid Shower because […]

Oct 13

2nd Graders Annual Full Moon Party!

On the evening of October 10, a lovely Harvest Moon rose through the clouds, delighting a crowd of children, their siblings and parents, and the teachers who assembled their students for the occasion of their annual Full Moon Party. Even before then, in the deepening twilight, Stellar Vista Observatory’s telescopes were trained on Saturn for […]

Oct 1

Sky Report: October 3 – 9

This week we’ll focus on the planets. The brightest planet in the evening sky is the king of the planets, Jupiter. You’ll see Jupiter low in the southeast as darkness falls, and high in the south around 1 a.m. No star or other planet is brighter. This is a good week to look at Saturn […]