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Little Rock, AR April 8 all-sky view

Explore the Night with Bob King

What Will We See in the Sky During Totality?

Most of our time will be focused on Sun during the minutes of totality on April 8th, but consider tearing yourself away for a few seconds to put it all in context.

Jupiter, Ganymede, Europa and double shadows, March 25, 2019

Celestial Objects to Observe

Watch Jupiter's Moons in Unusual Lineups

You'll have five opportunities in the coming months to see Jupiter's moons in interesting alignments.

GRS 2017 Juno

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Jupiter's Great Red Spot Just Keeps Getting Smaller

Jupiter's Great Red Spot may be reaching a milestone this year by shrinking to its smallest size in recorded observational history.

Orionid composite 2015-2022

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Orionid Meteors Fly; Two Moons Shadow Jupiter

Bundle up and enjoy the Orionid meteor shower under moonless skies this week. Don't miss the warm-up act, either, when two of Jupiter's moons pair up in a captivating double-shadow transit.

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.

Pandora

Solar System

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!

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.

Mars up close

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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!

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.

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

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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

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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.

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.

Earth and Uranus compared

Explore the Night with Bob King

Uranus Queues Up for Opposition

Journey to a remote planet then double back to check in on the latest stirrings of Comet 29P/Schwassmann-Wachmann before touching the finger of dawn.

Jupiter, Ganymede, Europa and double shadows, March 25, 2019

Planets

The 12-Year Cycle of Jupiter Oppositions

Jupiter is at opposition on August 19th. If we take the long view — 12 years long — we can watch Jupiter's oppositions as it passes through the zodiac constellations.

Europa eclipses then occults Io

Celestial Objects to Observe

Mutual Event Season Heats Up at Jupiter

Jupiter is usually the one occulting and eclipsing the Galilean moons, but this observing season the moons also eclipse and occult one another.

Planets

Ice Giants: Neptune and Uranus

Spot Uranus and Neptune, and relive the original discoveries.

Looking back at Pluto

Solar System

Cool Off with Pluto This Summer

Pluto might be a challenging target but it's well worth the effort. Grab your telescope and see if you can spot this distant, chilly world.

Venus-Jupiter conjunction

Celestial Objects to Observe

How Bright Are the Planets?

What do Venus and Jupiter have in common? Revisions to planets' magnitudes in this year's Astronomical Almanac have revealed some surprises.