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This Week's Amazing Sky | Almanac.com

This Week's Amazing Sky

December 30, 2021
It will be a great year for gazing at the night sky, so let’s get right into a quick preview of some of the year’s astronomical events! Here’s the best of the 2022. Planets Aplenty The big “stars” of the planet world make several dazzling appearances throughout the next year, so let’s start with some of 2022’s planetary highlights: Voracious Venus…
December 17, 2021
The headlines drool with excitement: “Are you ready for the big comet show?” “Comet Leonard Brightening More Than Expected!” “Don’t Miss 2021’s Best Comet.” So, is it really worth a look? Here’s Bob Berman’s take and a few key viewing tips. One big problem: very few will see any trace of this comet. To be sure, there is indeed some good news. The comet’s location is easy to…
December 17, 2021
There are two supermoons in 2022—and the first happens on the morning of June 14, 2022, at 7:52 A.M. EDT. What is a supermoon, exactly? We agree that it’s a catchy word and anything that encourages us to explore the night sky is positive—but let’s also get our facts straight. What Is a Supermoon? Generally speaking, a supermoon is a full moon that appears larger than a…
December 9, 2021
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 9, 2021
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. In 2021, the Moon is out for part of the night, so check out my 8 tips for how to best view the shooting stars this year. In 2021, the Geminids will peak on the night of Monday, December 13, into…
December 6, 2021
Step out at sunset the next clear evening. Now and for the next couple of weeks, a gorgeous row of bright planets, like a string of pearls, graces the low southwestern sky from 5 to 6 PM each night. And this week, the Moon joins the show, pairing up with a planet each night! December 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus are getting together with the crescent Moon for a…
December 4, 2021
It’s a new Moon! For astronomers, a new Moon means no Moon. For many cultures, however, the new Moon carries special meaning. Discover more about the new Moon. What Is a New Moon? A new Moon is essentially the opposite of a full Moon. During a full Moon, we see the side of the Moon that is being illuminated by the Sun, giving the Moon its bright, glowing appearance.…
December 1, 2021
All of Orion’s stars are easy to spot in the winter sky. We’re in a period of dark night skies, so let’s do some old-fashioned stargazing and go hands-on under the sky. Of the 88 constellations, most are incoherent, hallucinogenic smatterings. Orion is different. Along with the Big Dipper (best seen in the spring), Orion’s easily identified belt is often the…
November 23, 2021
Some things just don’t belong together, like the Three Stooges at an art opening. Yet this month, planetariums around the country try to blend religion and science by presenting their annual Star of Bethlehem show.  I take both religion and science seriously. In and of itself, the mixing of science and religion is shaky, but it can be helpful in specific cases; science…
November 19, 2021
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 16, 2021
Finally—a lunar eclipse worth setting the alarm for! We’re talking about a nearly total lunar eclipse (97% coverage!) on November 18–19, 2021. Wait until you see it—brightly lit polar cap on an otherwise red sphere. Get times and info on how to see it from Bob Berman. This lunar eclipse is especially welcome because in the past few years we’ve had a bizarre series of penumbral lunar…
November 2, 2021
Ever noticed that you can sometimes see the part of the Moon that isn’t lit up? The dark portion of the Moon (the area unlit by the Sun) seemed to glow. This phenomena is aptly known as Earthshine. Historically, this is called “the new Moon in the old Moon’s arms.” Learn more about earthshine. What is Earthshine? When you can see the dark unlit portion of the crescent Moon (the…