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Celestial Objects to Observe

The Best Meteor Showers in 2023

The two richest, most reliable annual meteor showers, the Perseids and Geminids, are Moon-free in 2023. Others showers await you too.


Stargazing Basics

Getting Started with Your New Telescope

How to start out right with a new telescope — a guide to what you need to know, how to set it up, and things you can start finding with it in tonight's sky.

Crescent Moon passing Venus and Mercury, Dec. 24-25, 2022

Celestial News & Events

This Week's Sky at a Glance, December 23 – 31

Venus and Mercury glimmer low in the southwest in twilight. The newborn crescent Moon starts the week with them, then visits Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars as it waxes toward full.

June 2022 planets

Solar System

All Eight Planets Line Up ... Again!

Echoing summer's great arc of planets at dawn, winter presents the full octet again, this time splayed across the evening sky.

Cosmic Cliffs close-ups

Stellar Science

Deep Dive Off the Cosmic Cliffs

The James Webb Space Telescope's early-release image of the Cosmic Cliffs is revealing growth spurts in young stars.

Gravitational waves from GW190521

The Black Hole Files with Camille Carlisle

The Challenge of Weird Black Hole Mergers

When spacetime shivers last only a fraction of a second — as in the case of the massive-black-hole merger GW190521 — astronomers struggle to uncover their origins.

Image of north ecliptic pole shows black field dotted with distant galaxies, spiral and elliptical


Webb Telescope Sees Deep and Wide into the Universe

A new deep field from the James Webb Space Telescope shows how galaxies evolved in the early universe.

Venus, Mercury, crescent Moon at dusk, Dec. 24, 2022

This Week's Sky At a Glance

This Week's Sky at a Glance, December 16 – 24

The Pleiades dipper, the House in the Hyades, Mars high but fading, M31 at the zenith, and a celestial string of holiday lights.

Black field spotted with galaxies marks the JADES field


Webb's Galactic Distance Record Is Now Official

Spectroscopic measurements confirm Webb's distance record, with images revealing galaxies that existed just 330 million years after the Big Bang.

Dust devil

Solar System

Listen to a Martian Dust Devil

The Perseverance rover on Mars has recorded a dust devil using its microphone, providing unprecedented data about these whirlwinds.

Geminid over Tucson

Variable Stars

Catch the Geminid Meteor Shower; Plus, Watch RW Cephei Fade

The luminous Geminid meteor shower returns. We also meet a binocular-bright star that may be experiencing Betelgeuse-like convulsions.

Hakuto-R launch

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Trio of Spacecraft Launch for the Moon

NASA’s Lunar Flashlight, iSpace’s Hakuto R from Japan, and the United Arab Emirates' Rashid rover are all headed to the Moon after launching aboard a SpaceX rocket.

Holmdel Horn

Astronomy and Society

The Holmdel Horn That "Heard" the Big Bang Is at Risk

Redevelopment plans could threaten the site that houses the Holmdel Horn, the instrument responsible for hearing the "hiss" of background radiation from the Big Bang.

Moon in Gemini passing Castor and Pollux, Dec. 10-11, 2022

This Week's Sky At a Glance

This Week's Sky at a Glance, December 9 – 16

Mars, just past opposition, remains bright as it aligns between Aldebaran and Capella. Jupiter shines highest after dusk. And watch for the Geminid meteors.

Mars close-up beneath the Moon

Celestial News & Events

Observing Report: Moon Occults Mars

Sky & Telescope editors report their observations of last night's celestial event: Mars grazing or disappearing behind the Moon.

Viking 1 image of Red Planet

Solar System

Tsunamis Carried Boulders Across Ancient Martian Ocean

Long-ago impacts tossed up the floors of an ancient ocean on the Red Planet and carried debris to the landing site of NASA’s Viking 1 lander.

Mars up close

Explore the Night with Bob King

Mars Mesmerizes at Opposition

It may not be the closest opposition, but this time around Mars arcs high across the sky where good seeing promises sharp views. That's not all. On December 7th, one night before opposition, the full Moon occults the Red Planet!

Merger illustration

Stellar Science

Gamma-ray Burst Surprise

Gamma-ray bursts are generally thought to come in two flavors — supernovae or neutron star mergers. But discoveries are blurring that line.

grey moon landscape with an astronaut walking

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Apollo 17 in Pictures: “God Willing, as We Shall Return”

On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 17, we look back at iconic photos as well as rarely seen images from the mission.

Artemis 1

Spacecraft and Space Missions

Status Update: Artemis 1's CubeSat Missions

Some of the small missions deployed from Artemis 1 will go on to do great things, while others remain silent.