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Comet ZTF (C/2022) and Mt. Etna

Comets

Understanding the Tails of Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3)

We explore Comet ZTF's remarkable trio of tails and share the latest news and photos.

Comet ZTF E3 dust tail

Comets

See Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3) Dash Between Big and Little Dippers

Forget the hype and go outside to enjoy the real thing — a relatively bright comet you can see in binoculars from a dark sky.

2023 BU close approach

Asteroids

Tiny Asteroid 2023 BU to Miss Earth

A recently discovered asteroid will pass exceptionally close to Earth on January 26th. Here's how to see it. Also, Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3) is brightening nicely, with three tails visible in binos.

Pandora

Planets

The Moons of the Solar System

Not so long ago, astronomers thought only a few dozen moons orbited the planets of our solar system. Today, the total count tops 170!

Alpha Persei Cluster (Melotte 20)

Night Sky Sights

Meet Mirfak, the Supergiant of Perseus

Mirfak, the brightest star in the constellation Perseus, is a yellow supergiant star with an uncertain fate.

Cloud map for 2023's annular solar eclipse

Celestial News & Events

Solar and Lunar Eclipses in 2023

Although no total lunar eclipses occur this year, skywatchers can look forward to two “central” solar eclipses — including an annular event in October whose path runs from Oregon through Texas.

Winter Pair-a-gon

Celestial Objects to Observe

Explore Double Stars in the "Winter Pair-a-gon"

The Winter Hexagon is not only key to finding six of the season's most prominent constellations but also a gateway to a more than a half-dozen delightful double stars.

Meteors

The Best Meteor Showers in 2023

The two richest, most reliable annual meteor showers, the Perseids and Geminids, are Moon-free in 2023. Others showers await you too.

June 2022 planets

Solar System

All Eight Planets Line Up ... Again!

Echoing summer's great arc of planets at dawn, winter presents the full octet again, this time splayed across the evening sky.

Geminid over Tucson

Variable Stars

Catch the Geminid Meteor Shower; Plus, Watch RW Cephei Fade

The luminous Geminid meteor shower returns. We also meet a binocular-bright star that may be experiencing Betelgeuse-like convulsions.

Mars up close

Explore the Night with Bob King

Mars Mesmerizes at Opposition

It may not be the closest opposition, but this time around Mars arcs high across the sky where good seeing promises sharp views. That's not all. On December 7th, one night before opposition, the full Moon occults the Red Planet!

Comet ZTF (C/2022 E3) up close

Explore the Night with Bob King

Sneak Peek at Two Promising Comets

Ready to chase comets? We look at two fuzzy solar system travelers that will keep you on your toes all fall and winter long.

Stars and moon

Explore the Night with Bob King

Election Eclipse — Last Total Lunar Eclipse till 2025

Set the alarm and bring plenty of coffee. We've got a total lunar eclipse coming that you don't want to miss.

Lunar craters for timing

Astronomy and Stargazing Projects

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 second lunar eclipse of 2022.

Orionid composite

Explore the Night with Bob King

All About the Dust — Orionids and Zodiacal Light

It doesn't take much to create a spectacle when it comes to astronomical observation. Just a pinch or two of dust.

Moonrise

Explore the Night with Bob King

Full Moon Fringe Benefits

The upcoming Hunter's Moon reminds us of the many ways we can enjoy observing our humble satellite.

Orange star in star field

Night Sky Sights

Meet Scheat, the Peak of Pegasus

Meet Scheat, the orange giant star that peaks the Great Square of Pegasus in autumn skies in the Northern Hemisphere.

Jupiter up close

Explore the Night with Bob King

Jupiter's Exceptionally Close Opposition

A sentinel in the autumnal sky, Jupiter marks its closest opposition since 1963.

Vega brilliance

Explore the Night with Bob King

Vega, the Star at the Center of Everything

While we may quibble about how to pronounce its name, there's no denying that Vega is one of the most fascinating and useful stars in the heavens.

Battered Vesta

Asteroids

Observe Vesta — and Own a Piece of It, Too

Vesta's bright and easy to find in binoculars and maybe even with the naked eye in late summer skies. It's also just as easy to acquire a piece of it without a multi-billion dollar space mission.

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