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Algol

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

Take a Roller Coaster Ride with Algol, a Fast Eclipsing Binary

How would you like to see a star drop two magnitudes in the time it takes to eat dinner? Easy to do. Just check out one of these fast eclipsing binaries — they'll make your head spin.

The Great Square of Pegasus

Night Sky Sights

Counting Stars in the Great Square

Test the limits of your vision — and the darkness of your sky — by taking a plunge into the Great Square of Pegasus.

Roadmap to a stellar nursery

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

Wallow a While in the Lagoon Nebula

We take a dip in one of summer's finest nebulae and explore everything from spooky Bok globules to the tornadic Hourglass Nebula. Don't forget your snorkel, er, telescope! Sometimes a single deep-sky object becomes your whole universe. So it was for me when I took several deep wades in the…

Variable Stars

Hunting Bright Variable Stars in M5 and M13

Globular clusters are packed with variable stars, some of which are easy to see and follow in amateur telescopes. We explore M5 and M13, two of the season's finest.

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

Double Date with a Dragon

For your enjoyment, a diverse selection of double stars in Draco for small and medium telescopes.

Eclipses

Useful Projects for a Lunar Eclipse

Here's all you need to know to help us measure the size of Earth's shadow during the total lunar eclipse on Jan. 20–21, 2019.

Deep Sky

Shadow Play — Summertime Dark Nebulae for Binoculars

Using only binoculars, we explore a host of inky dust clouds, the dark nebulae that smudge the Milky Way on late summer nights.

Explore the Night with Bob King

The Eyes Have it — Deep-Sky Observing Without Equipment

No telescope? No problem. Just use your eyeballs! On a dark summer night at least two dozen deep-sky objects can be seen without optical aid.

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

What Southern Stargazers Long to See in Northern Skies

Southern Hemisphere objects like Omega Centauri and the Magellanic Clouds make Northern Hemisphere observers envious. Today, we turn the tables and find out what those living in negative latitudes would love to see up north.

Pointy Planet

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

See an Ultrathin Venus Crescent

With Venus approaching inferior conjunction, don't miss the chance to see one of the thinnest Venus crescents of your life.

Orion StarBlast 4.5 in a library

Astronomy and Society

"Library Telescope" Program Takes Off

From humble beginnings in 2008, a simple idea — equipping libraries with loaner telescopes — has caught on across the United States.

Peewee and Papa

Deep Sky

Hunting White Dwarfs, the Night's Stellar Peewees

Take a trip down the rabbit hole to the weird and weighty world of planet-sized white dwarf stars.

Natural Artistry

Explore the Night with Bob King

Hunting Giant Planetary Nebulae

Mind your elders the next clear night and pay a visit to some of Spring's biggest and most ancient planetary nebulae.

Global Astronomy Month logo

Astronomy and Society

Celebrate Global Astronomy Month

Join the world’s largest celebration of astronomy — in person or via online webcasts of events — throughout April.

Canyonlands National Park at night

Save Dark Skies

Help Keep Our Skies Dark — Join IDA Today

It's high time that we amateur astronomers got serious about protecting the night sky from light pollution.

Dumbbell Nebula

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

Managing Your Deep-Sky References

Amateur astronomer Phillip Kane gives some advice on organizing "your" observing experts to assist you at the eyepiece.

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

Rosetta's Comet Campaign Wants YOU!

Participate in a world-wide campaign to observe and photograph Comet 67P/C-G as it approaches and recedes from the Sun with Rosetta in tow. Your observations matter.

Spiral galaxy NGC 4911 against star field

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

Observing Report: The Herschel Sprint

Amateur astronomer Mark McCarthy shares his observing report for his own "Night of Discovery," when he recreated Herschel's legendary "sprint" of April 11, 1785.

Sketching makes the eye grow sharper

Explore the Night with Bob King

Pleasures of Keeping an Astro Journal

Keeping a record of what you see in the telescope is not only fun but helps grow your observing skills. Learn how to start a journal and see how other amateurs keep theirs.  Do you write down what you saw after a session at the telescope? I've been doing it since…

True double samples

Explore the Night with Bob King

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.

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