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Altair skyscape

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Altair, the Eagle’s Eye

Altair, centerpiece of Aqulia, the Eagle, is the twelfth-brightest star in the night sky and one of the closest stars to Earth.

Night Sky Sights

Treasure Hunting in the Hall of the Deep-Sky King

Cepheus, the King, has hidden his treasure well but not so much that curious amateurs can't find more than enough to stuff their pockets.

Night Sky Sights

Meet Barnard’s Star, Our Red Dwarf Neighbor

This faint red dwarf star is famous not because it's bright but because it's fast-moving — you can actually see it moving across the sky if you track it over several years.

Canopus

Bright Stars

Meet Canopus, the Second Brightest Star

The second-brightest star after Sirius, Canopus is visible in southern skies, shining out of the constellation Carina.

Spica and Corvus

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Spica, the Ear of Grain

Meet Spica, the "ear of grain" in the constellation Virgo. This bright star is actually part of a binary orbiting so closely, they tug each other out of spherical shapes and whirl around each other every four days.

Bright Stars

Meet Vega, the Jewel of the Lyre

Meet Vega, the fifth-brightest star in the night sky and the most brilliant star in the constellation Lyra. Vega is in the prime of its life on the main sequence, but it's notable for its speedy spin and infrared-radiating debris disk.

Fomalhaut

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Fomalhaut, the Autumn Star

The bright star Fomalhaut, home to three suns plus a planet, peeks over the southern horizon in early autumn evenings in the Northern Hemisphere.

Picture of Rigel and IC 2118

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Rigel, Orion's Blue Suede Shoe

The seventh brightest star in the sky, blue-white Rigel shines brilliantly at the left foot of Orion and is actually a trio: a supergiant orbited by a pair of Sun-like stars.

Bright Stars

Meet Deneb, the Bright but Distant Star

Deneb, in the constellation Cygnus, is a star that shines brilliantly despite being one of the farthest you can see with the unaided eye.

Photo of Gemini with Pollux and Castor and Canis Minor with Procyon

Bright Stars

Meet Pollux, the Red Giant with a Planet

Meet the stars: Pollux, one of the Twins in the sky, is a star that has swelled into its red giant phase while holding onto its Jupiter-like exoplanet, dubbed Thestias.

Regulus removed

Night Sky Sights

Meet Regulus, Little King of the Ecliptic

Meet Regulus A, dubbed "Little King" and "Heart of the Lion," among the 25 brightest stars in the sky. The star belongs to a complex system, including a close white dwarf companion that makes its ultimate fate uncertain.

Betelgeuse's bow shock

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Betelgeuse, the Red Giant of Orion

Betelgeuse, the brilliant red star at the right shoulder of Orion, is a supergiant whose girth extends out to the orbit of Jupiter.

Night Sky Sights

Seven Nights of Enticing Lunar Sights

Come along for a 7-night tour of some of the Moon's most compelling features visible in small telescopes.

The center of the stellar merry-go-round

Night Sky Sights

Meet Polaris, the North Star

Meet the brightest stars near Earth. Next up: Polaris, the North Star, the star within a degree of the north celestial pole.

Bright Stars

Meet Sirius, the Brightest Star

Meet the stars near Earth, starting with the brightest: Sirius, the "Dog Star."

Seven Sisters rise again this month

Night Sky Sights

How Many Pleiades Can YOU See?

Most of us are familiar with the Seven Sisters, but have you met their brothers? Learn how to find more Pleiades than first meet the eye.

Night Sky Sights

Ceres and Vesta: July 2012 - April 2013

The two brightest asteroids are close to each other in late 2012 and early 2013. Moreover, they're traversing one of the most interesting areas in the night sky.

Night Sky Sights

Ceres and Vesta in 2011

The two brightest asteroids are in fine view for binoculars or a telescope. Here are instructions and charts to find them.

Night Sky Sights

Vesta in 2010

Vesta shines at magnitude 7 or brighter through mid-May 2010.

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