Dec 24

Sky Report: December 26 – January 1, 2022

I focus on the moon and planets because that’s where most of the action is; they make it interesting to follow motions and changes in the sky. This week, but not next, all 5 naked-eye planets plus the two telescopic ones are visible in the evening sky, and that’s highly unusual. Here’s where they are. […]

Dec 18

Sky Report: December 19- 25, 2022

All five naked-eye planets are out and in the evening sky this week and next if you have a dead flat southwest horizon and binoculars. And the moon joins them from the 24th. Here’s how to see them. Two planets are brighter than any stars and they dominate the evening sky. They are Mars and […]

Dec 10

Sky Report: December 12 – 18, 2022

THE astronomical event this week is the finest meteor shower of the year. Although it’s the year’s best, few people watch it for the simple reason that it’s COLD in mid-December. Still, curious minds want to stay informed. The shower is called the Geminids because the meteors radiate from the direction of the constellation Gemini, […]

Dec 3

Sky Report: December 5 – 11

Mars headlines the astronomy news this month. It was closest to earth on December 1 and at opposition on December 8. The meaning of “closest” is intuitive, while opposition is when Mars and the sun are precisely 180° opposite in the sky. These two dates would coincide if the orbits of earth and Mars were […]

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 — […]