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 […]

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 […]