This Week's Amazing Sky

January 8, 2020
It’s escaped no one’s attention that this year’s name is also the term for sharp vision—2020. So let’s check out your vision in the sky! Plus, here are some fun facts about how long it takes for our eyes to adjust to darkness and whether your night vision is affected by your eye color. The human eye is amazing and uses different modes to see during the daytime and to see at night, and can…
November 22, 2019
Are you a stargazer? After your Thanksgiving feast, in this season of dark skies, let’s look up—way up—at beautiful stars, planets, and the amazing universe around us. There are so many reasons to be grateful. Bob Berman gets us started … (Note: This is a reprint of Bob’s letter on Cosmic Gratitude.) It would be nice to hold a Thanksgiving star party, where we…
November 7, 2019
It’s hard to evaluate the major astronomical event coming up on Monday, November 11, 2019. It certainly sounds spectacular: the planet Mercury will visibly cross the face of the Sun. The next such transit won’t occur until 2032. Bob Berman has information on when and how to see this rare astronomical event. What Does Mercury Transit Mean? Mercury, the planet closest to…
October 30, 2019
This week’s crescent Moon is extra special. On Halloween night, October 31, see the brightest “star” next to the Moon? That’s Jupiter! Then on November 1 and November 2, the Moon travels to Saturn for another planet meet-up. Here are Bob’s viewing tips. The crescent is the shape most associated with a celestial object. Sure, the full Moon is circular, but when we think of…
October 23, 2019
With this month’s discovery of 20 more moons on Saturn, let’s pause and consider the many marvelous moons of our solar system. Which is your favorite? 20 New Moons Found on Saturn As you may have heard: This month, 20 new moons were founded orbiting Saturn. So now it’s got 82 moons, beating out Jupiter’s 79.  And if you’re up…
September 26, 2019
As autumn begins, we have a few more weeks to look at the most amazing part of the night sky. Let us easily locate the most photogenic telescopic targets, the planets Jupiter and Saturn.  On the next clear evening, look around the sky as soon as darkness falls.  Jupiter These nights that’s as early as 7 P.M. and certainly by 7:30.  Just look rather low…
September 3, 2019
Want to experience the kind of cosmic panorama seen under the opening credits of Star Wars? You’re at the right place. During September nights, we are aimed toward the center of the Milky Way, and can view the full splendor of our home galaxy. When to View the Milky Way During September nights, the Milky Way Galaxy neatly splits the sky from north to south and passes directly…
August 9, 2019
This year, the great Perseid Meteor Shower (peaking August 12–13) will be marred by the sky-brightening mischief of a nearly full Moon. So we may as well amuse ourselves by making the Moon the scapegoat for other problems, too! Read on—plus, here’s a tip to boost your chances of seeing a “shooting star.” Moon Myths It’s not a weird idea to think that the Moon causes…
July 30, 2019
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’s a Black Moon on July 31. 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…
June 26, 2019
View a total solar eclipse LIVE from South America this July 2, 2019. Bob Berman is traveling to observatories in Chile to report on the eclipse. But you don’t have to live on the path of totality to watch what Bob calls the greatest celestial spectacle! Tune in Tuesday afternoon for live coverage. Learn more! The Greatest Spectacle Ever since 1974, I…
June 24, 2019
Both total solar eclipses AND partial solar eclipses require specialized eye protection. I’ve already written about eye safety, but it never hurts to provide more precaution. More people will see a partial solar eclipse as it’s rare to be on the path of totality.  However, it is never safe to look at a partial eclipse, or the partial phases of a total solar eclipse,…
June 24, 2019
You can seriously damage your eyes by watching a solar eclipse without proper protection (NOT sunglasses!). Here is information on how to watch an eclipse safely and what kind of eye protection you need—from eclipse glasses to welder’s googles. First, if you are watching a “total solar eclipse,” do you realize that you can only see totality from a very limited area—the…