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This Week's Amazing Sky | Almanac.com

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This Week's Amazing Sky

January 27, 2023
Groundhog Day. Just a bizarre tradition involving a marmot, right? Believe it or not, Groundhog Day is full of amazing sky-related stuff. Even its date relates to the heavens. Bob Berman explains the connection to astronomy and sky watching. As the tradition goes, a Pennsylvania groundhog ignores crowds of humans closely gathered around him, and then, despite having a four ounce brain,…
January 24, 2023
The mass media is headlining a rare “green comet” passing by Earth between February 1 and 2. It’s supposedly about to be visible to the naked eye and be the best comet of 2023. Well, that last part may prove true, but as for the rest, pull up a chair. Do you first want the good news, or the bad? Well, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way.  What is the Comet’s …
January 19, 2023
It’s a new Moon! For astronomers, a new Moon means no Moon to look at. For many cultures, however, the new Moon carries special meaning. So, what exactly IS a new Moon, when are the new Moons in 2023, and what does a new Moon look like? Let’s explore, fellow Moon lovers … What Is a New Moon? A new Moon is essentially the opposite of a full Moon. During a full…
December 29, 2022
Want a cosmic way to ring in the New Year? On New Year’s Eve, the brightest star visible from our planet, Sirius, reaches its highest point in the sky as the clock strikes midnight (or, near to it). Spot Sirius in the New Year Sky Simply step outdoors on New Year’s Eve as local midnight approaches, then look toward the south and you’ll easily see the…
December 21, 2022
Here it is! My 2023 astronomical calendar lists the best night sky events of the year—with an eye to highlighting the most amazing, rare, and worthwhile sky-happenings that any regular stargazer can see without special gear. I suggest readers save it for year-long reference. Without further ado, let’s see what’s happening in the sky in the new year! Unlike many astronomy guides…
December 16, 2022
Step outside anytime after 9 P.M. in winter and it’s easy to spot Orion the Hunter, one of the season’s most easily recognizable constellations. Many of you can probably identify the Hunter’s Belt, those three stars in a row. But let’s find two even brighter stars of the Hunter (one red-orange and the other white-blue)! Of the 88 constellations, most are…
December 14, 2022
Some things just don’t belong together, like the Three Stooges in a fine art museum. Yet, this month, planetariums around the country try to blend religion and science by presenting their annual Star of Bethlehem show. But was the Star of Bethlehem a real astronomical object? I take both religion and science seriously. In and of itself, the mixing of science and religion is…
December 13, 2022
The winter solstice occurs on Wednesday, December 21, at 4:48 PM. Yes, this is the “shortest” day of the year, but let’s talk about how many minutes each day the daylight increases afterward. Plus, we’ll talk about other ways you can see and feel the solstice. At the winter solstice, very nearly midnight, our planet’s south pole aims most directly toward the Sun, leaving…
December 9, 2022
The most active shooting stars of the year are the Geminids, the sky’s “Old Faithful.” Their trustworthy, one‑a‑minute frequency has created reliable December sparklers for the past century. Here are 8 tips for viewing the shooting stars this year. In 2022, the Geminids will peak on the night of Tuesday, December 13, into the morning of Wednesday, December 14. However, the best time…
December 2, 2022
Ready to see Mars at its very best? This is the most special Martian week until the mid-2030s. Mars reached its closest and brightest on December 1 and still retains its incredible dazzle. It will meet the full Moon on Wednesday, December 7—the same night that it’s at opposition, opposite the Sun in our sky. You’ve probably already noticed it. It’s the second-brightest “star” in the whole…
November 29, 2022
When is the earliest sunset of the year? Many folks think it’s on the winter solstice. But the darkest days are actually now—in early December! Bob Berman explains this phenomenon. To most of us in North America, this is a dark time of year and the sunsets come exceedingly early. It might surprise you to learn that the earliest sunsets come several weeks before the winter solstice,…
November 20, 2022
Here they come! After an interminable absence, a phalanx of planets has avalanched into the evening sky. Let’s enjoy the planet beauty contest parading before our eyes at the end of November. Take a look with Bob Berman as your guide. The Planets Parade at Night Jupiter: You’ve already surely noticed the brightest one, Jupiter, the most brilliant “star,” hands down. You can…

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