Pleiades

Night Sky Sights

Meet the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters

The Pleiades are actually a star cluster of thousands of stars enshrouded in dust and gas, and they're easy to find if you know where to look.

bennu activity

Science-based Q&A

What are Asteroids, Comets & Meteors?

Asteroids, comets, meteors — what’s the difference? Is a comet just an asteroid with a tail? And what makes a meteor different from the other two?

Altair skyscape

Learning About the Sky

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

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

Learning About the Sky

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

Variable Stars

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.

Learning About the Sky

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.

Celestial Objects to Observe

How to “See” Interstellar Space Probes

So far, humans have sent five probes into space that are or will go far beyond the solar system: the Pioneers, the Voyagers, and New Horizons. As an exercise in fun, here's how you can find those probes' locations on the sky.

Fomalhaut

Learning About the Sky

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

Learning About the Sky

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.

Stargazing Basics

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

Stargazing Basics

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

Stargazing Basics

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.

The center of the stellar merry-go-round

Stargazing Basics

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.

Stargazing Basics

Meet Sirius, the Brightest Star

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

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