This Week's Amazing Sky

May 10, 2021
Spring’s metamorphosis in the garden is grabbing our attention but a quick upward glance shows the sky is radically changing, too! Your location matters as well. See how the skies change in spring. Quiet Skies of Spring The brilliant winter constellations—the hunter Orion and his friends—now balance for a final weeks low in the west at nightfall. After 9 or 10 P.M. they’re…
April 29, 2021
Maybe you’ve heard those radio commercials. The announcer says, “If you’re looking for a perfect gift for that special someone … then have a star named after them!” Can you really name a star? The answer to this question is … in the eye of the beholder. Let’s see what you think.  The International Star Registry is still in business. More than 30…
April 23, 2021
There are two supermoons in 2021—and the next one is Wednesday morning, May 26, 2021 at 7:14 a.m. EDT. The Moon will appear full both Tuesday and Wednesday night. What is a supermoon? 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…
April 15, 2021
Many of us are simply intoxicated with spring’s magic. The suddenly sprouting flowers, exploding willows, and the return of nature’s smells (which happens whenever the air gets warmer than 50 degrees) is almost sensory overload. But let’s include the sky in our appreciations. This coming weekend, Friday April 16th through Sunday the 18th, is an especially perfect time. The Sun …
April 2, 2021
During the early weeks of spring, the most widely recognized constellation at nightfall is Orion, standing upright in the southwest. People who appreciate the outdoors may know this prominent constellation best. Here are Orion constellation facts and viewing tips from Almanac astronomer Bob Berman. Ubiquitous Orion Of the 88 constellations, Orion is distinctive with its famous belt,…
April 1, 2021
What are the Seven Sisters? These are stars in the Pleiades star cluster—one of the most noticeable star pattern in the spring. This tiny dipper of six stars appears at nightfall, lowish in the west, directly above where the Sun sets. So, wait, why are they called the Seven Sisters? Read on—plus, find my viewing tips. According to Greek mythology, these Pleiades were the…
March 22, 2021
Did you know that spring is galaxy time? More galaxies are visible from March to mid-May, early in the evening. Find out more about famous galaxies and how to see a galaxy this spring! What Is a Galaxy? It may help the novice sky watcher to understand the definition of a galaxy: A galaxy is a huge collection of gas, dust, and billions of stars and their solar…
March 17, 2021
Do you know the old song, “How High The Moon”? Neither do I, it was before my time. But that would be a good tune this coming week. We’ll see the year’s highest Moon on the equinox. Welcome spring! March 19: Moon Shines Above Mars and Aldebaran, First things first. If it’s clear, look up this Friday night, March 19 at nightfall. The waxing crescent Moon is closely accompanied by…
March 10, 2021
Make a pie to celebrate Pi Day on Sunday, March 14, 2021! The date 3/14 honors the never-ending number 3.14159. This is the sort of holiday only celebrated by number freaks like yours truly (and pie lovers). Let’s have fun with numbers and a nice piece of π … The date 3/14 reminds everyone that the Greek letter π, always representing the ratio…
March 8, 2021
On the spring equinox, does the Sun rise due east and set due west? Are day and night equal? Bob Berman shares some vernal equinox oddities for the very first day of spring. Why Does the Spring Equinox Fall on Different Dates? If you thought that the Spring Equinox only ever occurred on March 21, you may be dating yourself. Spring arrived on the 21st of March during most…
February 9, 2021
As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us wonder: what’s the most romantic gift for one’s sweetheart? Chocolates? A candlelight dinner? Excellent choices—but for a nightcap, Bob Berman invites us to look to love in the heavens—and the legends inspired by the stars and Moon! See Bob’s latest post. There’s nothing like a moonlit or starlit stroll. But the…
January 29, 2021
Who hasn’t heard of the Dog Star, Sirius? In February, it’s the brightest star in Earth’s night sky, parading overhead from nightfall until midnight. When viewing Sirius, we’re actually seeing the combined light of two stars. Learn how to find Sirius. Sirius is the alpha dog of the Big Dog constellation (Canis Major) and the brightest star of February. This star was…