Labeled Big Dipper

Learning About the Sky

The Big Dipper: Hop to Spring's Sky Sights

The Big Dipper is one of the most familiar sights in the Northern Hemisphere’s night skies. You can use its stars to locate other fun targets.

Stargazing Basics

A Quick Tour of Orion, the Hunter

The evening sky this week presents a near perfect opportunity to explore winte'rs marquee constellation, Orion, with binoculars or a small telescope.

Learning About the Sky

Astronomy for Beginners: How to Get Started in Backyard Astronomy

Astronomy doesn't deserve its reputation as a tough, expensive hobby. You just need to begin with the right advice.

Stargazing Basics

Astronomy Books: Wrapping Up 2017

Wondering what to read next? Looking for a gift for the amateur astronomer in your life? Check out these new astronomy books!

full Moon

Stargazing Basics

Native American Full Moon Names

Native American tribes each had their own full Moon names — we introduce the most commonly used ones and the traditions behind them.

Learning About the Sky

Stargazing Simplified

Learn some of the classic stargazing sights that can be best viewed through a smaller telescope.

Messier Observer's Planisphere

Stargazing Basics

Learn Constellations with a Planisphere

How do you find out what stars are visible tonight? With a planisphere or "star wheel." It's easy!

Gemini on Sky Atlas 2000.0

Stargazing Basics

How to Use a Star Chart at the Telescope

Here's what you need to know to navigate the heavens with a telescope and star atlas.

Follow R CrB's changing light

Learning About the Sky

Star Charts: A Vital Resource for Learning the Night Sky

Our Constellation Basics webinar provides background information about the major winter constellations. Here are some accompanying online resources.

Learning About the Sky

Asterisms for Winter Nights

Asterisms appeal to our playful side but also serve as key waypoints in the sky for identifying fainter stars and constellations.

Crescent cradles the 'old moon'

Explore the Night with Bob King

Earthshine, the Moon's Darker Side

With a subtle beauty all its own, the earthshine we see glowing in the lunar night invites us to consider Earth's many connections to the Moon.

Using a star chart

Stargazing Videos: Tips & Techniques

Video: Using Star Charts and Star Wheels

Watch S&T senior editor Alan MacRobert show and explain how to use star charts and planispheres (star wheels).

Star Wheel

Learning About the Sky

How to Make a Star Wheel the Simple Way

Would you like to be able to navigate your way around the night sky with confidence? Using this simple, easy-to-make Star Wheel, you can "dial the sky" for any time or date.

A Real Mover

Stargazing Basics

Getting Started in Astronomy

An easy guide to exploring the universe is just a quick download away. This PDF document contains valuable tips for beginner stargazers, a detailed Moon map, and six bimonthly star charts for either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.

Orion Nebula

Learning About the Sky

Fuzzies in Your Future:
An Introduction to Deep-Sky Objects

Ready to voyage beyond the Solar System? Here's what you can see.

M13 from a backyard

Stargazing Basics

Names of Deep-Sky Objects

Expert observer Brian Skiff explains NGC, UGC, and everything in between.

Ursa Major from Urania's Mirror

Learning About the Sky

Star Names: Where Do They Come From and What Do They Mean?

Confused by the bizarre names that astronomers have given the stars? Here's where they come from and what they mean.

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