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Variable Stars

Meet My Variable Friend SS Cygni

Get acquainted with SS Cygni, the sky's brightest cataclysmic variable star. It's guaranteed to keep you on your toes.

Fortuitous intersection

Celestial News & Events

See Saturn's Moon Rhea Hide a Star

Watch as the moon Rhea steals a star from the sky for nearly a minute on September 12th.

Crescent cradles the 'old moon'

Stargazing Basics

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.

Comet and nebula - near and far

Explore the Night with Bob King

Happy Times for Comet Watchers

Seize the moment and bookend your next clear night with two fine telescopic comets: Jacques at dusk and Oukaimeden at dawn.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Close Venus-Jupiter Conjunction on August 18th

Here's your invitation to view a spectacular close conjunction of the sky's two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, before dawn on Monday morning.

Graceful arc of shocked gas

Celestial Objects to Observe

How to See Cygnus's Other Veil Nebula

You'll be entering uncharted territory when you seek out this little known 'Shadow of the Veil' in Cygnus this summer.

Proof you can see Earth's shadow even from a big city

Daylight Phenomena

Earth's Shadow Creeps Up on Us Every Night

The next time you're out watching a sunset, turn around and relish the mighty shadow of Earth looming just behind your back.

Faculae along solar limb on July 18, 2014

Sun

Blank Sun? Faculae to the Rescue!

Fascinating faculae provide a way for anyone with a small telescope to track the ups and downs of the solar cycle — even when there are no sunspots.

A bright Iridium flare

Explore the Night with Bob King

Predictive Prowess: See an Iridium Flare

Channel your inner superpower by looking up at the night sky precisely when a dazzling blaze of light is beamed to Earth from outer space.

True double samples

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

See Summer's Best Naked-Eye Double Stars

Not every set of closely paired stars requires binoculars or a telescope to "split". Here's a guide to summertime doubles you can tackle with your eyes alone.

Moon and Saturn on July 7, 2014

Celestial News & Events

Two Moon-Planet Conjunctions Juice Up July

On July 5th, the Moon has a remarkably close brush with Mars, followed two nights later by a similar rendezvous with Saturn.

Two-faced Iapetus

Celestial News & Events

Iapetus Comes Over to the Bright Side

Astronomers now know the secret of this moon's strange two-faced appearance, but it's still remarkable to watch the "now you see it, now you don't" performance as it moves around Saturn.

Explore the Night with Bob King

Summer Quest for Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent clouds form at the boundary between Earth and space. Their electric blue billows incite the imagination and inspire us to keep watch at dusk for their arrival.

Two-tailed Comet PanSTARRS

Celestial News & Events

Comet PanSTARRS Keeps Getting Better

Since C/2012 K1's discovery two years ago, this first-time visitor from the outer solar system has brightened steadily and is now within reach of a small telescope and even binoculars.

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