This Week's Amazing Sky

September 13, 2021
On Tuesday, September 14, planet Neptune reaches its closest approach to us for the year. Why should we care about the only planet that cannot be seen with the naked eye? Well, if size matters, then it deserves attention on that basis alone, since it’s such an enormous blue ball, 58 planet Earths could fit inside it. Discover the “other” blue planet. Discovering Neptune We really…
September 9, 2021
Can you balance an egg on the autumnal equinox? Does the Sun rise due east and set due west for all of us on Earth? Why did the date of the equinox change? How is it related to the Harvest Moon? Bob separates autumnal equinox facts from fiction. We have an equinox coming up on Wednesday, September 22, 2021. Read all about the Autumnal Equinox! There are a number of…
August 16, 2021
Both of our neighboring planets, Venus and Mars, are carbon dioxide (CO2) worlds. On Earth, there is only a trace amount. So why all the fuss about carbon dioxide? In half a minute, you can fully grasp how CO2 does its dirty work. Interested? Earth’s Carbon Dioxide Levels Six years ago, for the first time in 800,000 years, our own world’s carbon dioxide level passed 400…
August 15, 2021
The universe is a strange place, and the things we don’t know keep hounding astronomers to where the whole thing often feels frustrating. Of course, if we knew everything, science wouldn’t be as much fun. Countless challenges and juicy new mysteries pop up every year. The journey is too exciting to ever be over. Let’s muse about a few of these mysteries … Does your mind puzzle…
August 5, 2021
The Sturgeon Blue Moon will occur on August 21-22, 2021! What is a Blue Moon, exactly? Read all about Blue Moons. Catch the Sturgeon Blue Moon August’s full Moon, which is traditionally known as the Sturgeon Moon, is extra-special this year: it’s a seasonal Blue Moon! Most of the time, a season (winter, spring, summer, or fall) contains three full Moons.…
July 27, 2021
In this age of hype, Saturn remains one of the true show-stoppers. But, as with earthly affairs, timing is everything. Right now, Saturn shines at its brightest this year, making it the ideal to time to view our beautiful neighbor. It’s really easy to find. We’ll get to that in a minute. The Lord of the Rings overwhelms neophyte telescope owners and seasoned observers alike.…
July 9, 2021
What a treat! Venus, Mars, and the young Moon meet July 11–12 just after sunset. It’s the finest three-way conjunction of 2021. Venus and Mars will appear only a finger’s width apart and the slender crescent Moon points the way. See Bob Berman’s viewing tips. Young Moon, Venus, and Mars Meet In most of the United States, a romantic meeting of the three nearest…
July 5, 2021
Away from city lights in mid-July, one could see as many as 2,500 naked eye stars. But only one star stands out because it’s the only bright star directly overhead—and that’s Vega. This brilliant blue-white star is a favorite of stargazers and astronomers. For those living at a latitude between 39 and 44 degrees, meaning the region encompassing Denver, Philadelphia,…
June 27, 2021
It’s storm season. You finish dinner at a restaurant and it’s suddenly pouring. You gaze at your car parked not so far away. Is it better to walk or run in the rain? Believe it or not, scientists have debated this for years.  If you run you get there faster, so less rain hits you.  But meanwhile you’re slamming more frontwise into the droplets, making…
June 23, 2021
Last Sunday’s summer solstice is followed by a special full Strawberry Moon on Thursday, June 24—and it all affects us! Learn more about the lowest full Moon of 2021—and why we expect it to be one of the most colorful (but not the color of a strawberry!). Here are interesting facts and viewing tips from Almanac astronomer Bob Berman. In 2021, June’s full Moon will appear…
June 4, 2021
If you ask friends what happens on the summer solstice (this Sunday), they’re likely to say it’s the longest day of the year. But let’s learn something new. Bob Berman lists 7 cool (or, is it “hot”?) solstice facts. See how many you know! The solstice on Sunday, June 20, 2021, happens at the same instant for all of us, everywhere on Earth; only our clocks are…
May 24, 2021
A total lunar eclipse of the full Flower Moon happens early Wednesday morning, May 26. It all sounds great—until you read the fine print. Turns out, it will only be “total” for those on or near the West Coast. And even then, the Moon will be so low in the sky—less than 15 degrees when totality begins—that hills, trees, or houses can easily obscure it. Learn about this strange and short total…