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Perseid 2021

Meteors

Perseids Are Coming, Full Moon or Not

Don't use a full Moon pass to skip this year's Perseid meteor shower. Right here, right now, we're going to help you make the most of it.

Earthshine painting

Celestial Objects to Observe

Solving an Earthshine Mystery

Something we take for granted about the crescent Moon's appearance may be nothing more than an optical illusion.

Iapetus transit single

Planets

See a Rare Transit of Iapetus on July 17–18

It's tiny. It's challenging. But you won't get the chance to see Iapetus transit the globe of Saturn again until 2037!

Titan and Tethys

Explore the Night with Bob King

Titan Occults a Bright Star, Mira Awakens, and Comet PanSTARRS Shines

Pick one or see them all. July offers a potpourri of celestial events for both naked-eye observers and telescope users that include a rare occultation by Saturn's moon Titan, a bright comet, and Mira at maximum.

Dawn planet line

Explore the Night with Bob King

Solar System Gets its Ducks in a Row

We'll have not one but many opportunities to enjoy a rare lineup of the bright planets over the next few weeks. Amazingly, they'll be aligned in order of their distance from the Sun.

Tau Herculid fireball

Explore the Night with Bob King

Tau Herculid Meteors Surprise and Delight

We touch on the highlights of the memorable Tau Herculid meteor shower and also report on the recent outburst of the recurrent nova U Scorpii.

Big Dipper

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A New Way to See the Big Dipper

Unlike most asterisms, many of the Big Dipper's stars really are physically connected. They belong to a loosely bound stellar stream called the Ursa Major Moving Cluster.

November 2021 Lunar eclipse

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Witness a Total Lunar Eclipse on Sunday, May 15–16

The full Flower Moon ducks inside Earth's shadow in a total lunar eclipse this month. We help you prepare for all the highlights of the special event.

Naked eye sunspots

Explore the Night with Bob King

How to Observe and Measure Naked-eye Sunspots

As Solar Cycle 25 ticks up, naked-eye sunspots are becoming more frequent. They're not only fun to observe, but with this simple method you can determine just how big they are. We also have news on a bright supernova!

Bright Lyrid

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Celebrate Spring with the Lyrids

People have been watching the annual Lyrid meteor shower for more than 2,700 years. Come join the crowd!

Comet ATLAS (C/2019 L3)

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Comets to View in 2022

Like comets? We've got 11 frozen fuzzies to share with you in the coming months, including a couple that could become fine binocular objects.

Saturn 2011 Cassini

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Will Saturn Sprout Spots this Observing Season?

As Saturn returns to the morning sky, will this otherwise serene-looking planet experience another bout of severe weather? Keep your eyes peeled for white spots!

Full moon and Earth shadow

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Uncovering Secrets of Earth's Shadow

The daily rising and setting of Earth's shadow is a beautiful sight anyone on the planet can view. It's also an opportunity to witness the rapid changes that accompany sunset or sunrise, but at the opposite end of the sky.

Southern Milky Way gazing

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Reveling in the Winter Milky Way

With the Moon departing the evening sky, now's a good time for a closer look at the northern winter Milky Way and its southern summer counterpart, too. No equipment required!

Observing the stars

Stargazing Basics

See the Sun from Other Stars

We journey to distant suns to look back at our solar system and see its place among the stars.

Mare Orientale gravity map

Explore the Night with Bob King

Set Your Sights on This Lunar Bull’s-Eye

Go ahead, live on the edge: Grab your chance this month to see Mare Orientale, one of the most spectacular lunar seas most people have never seen.

Asteroid makes close approach

Celestial News & Events

Watch an Asteroid Race Across the Sky

The kilometer-wide, potentially hazardous asteroid 1994 PC1 will fly past Earth on January 18th. Good news on two counts: It won't hit us, and it's bright enough to see in a 4-inch telescope.

Comet 19P/Borrelly on Dec. 30, 2021

Explore the Night with Bob King

Comet-seeking on Cold, Crunchy Nights

Did the recent apparition of Comet Leonard whet your appetite for more of these beautiful unpredictables? Here are five more you can see with your telescope this season.

Comet Leonard on Dec. 24, 2021

Observing

Comet Leonard: A Gift at Christmastime

Multiple bright outbursts have transformed Comet Leonard into a stunning photographic object that’s also visible without optical aid from southern locations. More disruptions are likely in store as it approaches perihelion.

Venus full circle

Astronomy & Observing News

Venus Farewell, Moonless Skies for the Quadrantids

Venus presents a stunning crescent at dusk before switching over to the morning sky early next month. After dodging the Moon for the Geminids, it's dark skies all around for the Quadrantid meteor shower.

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