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This Week's Amazing Sky | Almanac.com

This Week's Amazing Sky

January 31, 2022
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 27, 2022
Step outside any time after 9 P.M. in January or February and it’s easy to spot Orion the Hunter, one of winter’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…
January 20, 2022
Much media hype surrounds Moon names, such as “Blood Moon” and “Blue Moon,” but have you ever heard of a “Black Moon”? This year, there are three Black Moons in a row. Here’s an explanation of this ominous-sounding name. What is a Black Moon? Like “Blood Moon” and “Blue Moon,” “Black Moon” is not an astronomical term. In fact, if you ask a sample of astronomers,…
January 20, 2022
Will there be a Blue Moon this year? And what is a Blue Moon, exactly? Read all about Blue Moons! What Is a Blue Moon? Need a refresher on what a Blue Moon is? We get a lot of questions about the term, including: Is “Blue Moon” a scientific term used in astronomy? Did this term originate with Native American folklore, like a number of the other full Moon…
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 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 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 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.…
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,…