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Explore the Night with Bob King

Action-packed Sky: Saturn, Comet Nishimura, and More

September is Saturn's time to shine. We also check on Comet Nishimura — now at 5th magnitude and still brightening — and look forward to a dramatic asteroid occultation. Not to mention that Jupiter just took another hit.

Cloud cover along the path of totality will be lesser toward the south

Celestial Objects to Observe

El Niño and the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

What will the ongoing El Niño event do to the chance of cloud cover along the 2024 total solar eclipse track?

Comet Nishimura C/2023 P1

Celestial News & Events

New Comet Nishimura May Become Naked-Eye Bright

Comet Nishimura is quickly brightening in the morning sky and may be faintly visible with the naked eye next month. And on August 24th observers in North America will be treated to an occultation of Antares.

Eclipse map

Eclipses

2024 Total Solar Eclipse: 25 Events, Festivals, and Places to Stay

Some ideas for those who still need a place to go on April 8, 2024, to see the total solar eclipse.

Diagram of Moon-Earth orbit

Eclipses

How Rare Is a Solar Eclipse?

There are two solar eclipses every year — so why are they so rare?

2016 Perseids

Celestial News & Events

Get Ready for a Great Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseids are here! With no Moon to spoil the show it's time to break out the lawn chairs, sit back, and watch the comet dust fly.

Eclipses

Eclipse Apps, Books, Videos: Resources for the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Find some of our favorite resources for the April 8, 2024, solar eclipse, including apps, video explainers, children's activities, and books.

Nova Persei expansion

Explore the Night with Bob King

Time-lapse Animations Reveal a Universe in Transformation

Deep-sky objects may appear static throughout our lifetime but by carefully "blinking" archival and current images we can discern real changes in their appearance.

Captured globulars

Explore the Night with Bob King

See Summer's Best “Gobbled” Globulars

Mergers between the Milky Way and long-ago dwarf galaxies have enriched our skies with dozens of iconic globular clusters. Many are visible in small telescopes.

Venus Orion Taurus in early May 2023

Celestial News & Events

This Week's Sky at a Glance, April 28 – May 7

The Arch of Spring across the west enfolds Mars and Venus. Wintry Sirius nears its heliacal setting low in the southwest. The Summer Triangle stars come into view one by one in the east.

Eclipses

Eclipse Photographer’s Checklist

For those preparing to photograph a total solar eclipse, Fred Espenak shares his eclipse photography checklist.

totality with an iPhone13

Celestial Objects to Observe

How to Use Your Smartphone to Shoot a Solar Eclipse

Read this advice from expert eclipse-chasers before you use your smartphone to photograph a solar eclipse.

March 2016 total solar eclipse

Eclipses

Images to Inspire: Solar Eclipse Pictures

We've gathered some of the best pictures of past solar eclipses, total and partial, from our online photo gallery to serve as inspiration for your eclipse photography

Elnath's position in Taurus constellation

Celestial Objects to Observe

Meet Elnath in the Horn of the Bull

Elnath, the bright, blue-white star that marks one of the horns of Taurus, is a peculiar star in its own right.

Lunarisms locator

Solar System

Pleasures of Lunar Pareidolia

Do you still see animal shapes in clouds? If so, you'll enjoy doing the same with the Moon, home to the Moon Maiden, a giant pair of scissors, and other fantastic specters of light and shadow.

C/2023 A3 orbit

Celestial Objects to Observe

Anticipating Comet Tsuchinshan-ATLAS (C/2023 A3)

Newly discovered Comet C/2023 A3 might reach naked-eye brightness when it flies past Earth in 2024. Check out our forecast of what to expect to see in the months ahead.

Red aurora

Auroras

Aurora Season Is Underway

These are the nights to get ready for the auroras — and tonight may be your lucky night. Not only is the current solar cycle swiftly intensifying, March is one of the best times of the year to see the northern lights.

Orion Nebula with T Ori

Variable Stars

Catch Birth Flickers of Budding Suns in Orion

Three flickering stars in Orion offer insight into what life looks like before the main sequence.

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.