On Earth we find spirals in sunflowers and snails, but to see it expressed in something as enormous as a galaxy transforms this familiar pattern into something truly grand. That's what I feel when I point my scope at the Whirlpool Galaxy and see its billions of suns arranged in the whorls of a spiral. Grandeur.
Break out your binoculars or a small telescope, we've got a busy week ahead! Watch as a bright asteroid approaches Earth, the Moon steals a star, and Comet ATLAS's last hurrah.
Venus has a been powerful presence at dusk for months — bright enough to cast shadows. How would you like to put it to the test? The Moon won't spoil the darkness until at least April 24th — April 25th if you wait till after moonset — making it the perfect time to see your own shadow by the light of another celestial body.
Occultations of stars by the Moon occur routinely, but planetary lunar occultations are much rarer birds. That's why I hope you'll make the effort Tuesday morning February 18th to watch the waning crescent Moon occult the planet Mars.
The sky provides. This winter, the fading of Betelgeuse caught us all by surprise. Now, as January wraps up, we can add a new comet discovery and a supernova bright enough to see in a 6-inch telescope to an ever-growing list of seasonal sky wonders.