The cover of the January 2024 issue

North American Eclipse, Light Pollution, and Imaging Rigs

In the January issue, we’re gearing up for the North American eclipse that’s now only four months away. We dive into the history of the Saros cycle, a pattern that enabled ancient Babylonians to predict eclipses. We also explore how modern people can participate in ongoing eclipse-related science, like recording how the animal life around us reacts to these incredible events. Next, we’re championing a return to dark skies as we look at how the irresponsible use of outdoor lighting and LEDs has affected not only our enjoyment and exploration of the night sky but also the plant, insect, and wildlife around us — including the effects on the human body. Finally, we tie things up with a guide to purchasing a beginner’s astrophoto system.  


M78: A Hotbed of Stellar Activity

Spend some time these winter nights exploring an object of remarkable complexity.

By Howard Banich

Assembling an Astrophoto System

Alan Dyer gives his recommendations for a first-class imaging rig for anyone aspiring to begin deep-sky photography.

By Alan Dyer

The Return of Dark Skies?

Light pollution is spreading across the planet. But we can stop that.

By John Barentine & Jessica Heim

No Creature Comfort

Artificial light at night robs us of more than the stars.

By Travis Longcore

Understanding Saros Cycles

Let Babylonian astronomy prepare you for April’s total solar eclipse.

By Douglas MacDougal

Beyond the Printed Page:

Ocean Worlds

Read about these two possible water worlds.

DarkSky International

Find out what you can do to protect the night.

Native Skywatchers

Support this initiative to remember and revitalize indigenous star knowledge.

Telescopes Galore

Check out Howard Banich’s telescope collection.


Scintillating Sirius

Watch the brightest star in the night sky perform kaleidoscopic feats on dark winter nights.

By Stephen James O’Meara

A Morning Antares Occultation

Scorpius returns to the dawn sky only to have its heart stolen by the Moon.

By Bob King

Observing the Ice Giants

Turn your attention to our solar system’s neglected outer planets.

By Thomas A. Dobbins

A River Runs Through It

The seemingly barren region southwest of Orion flows with interesting targets

By Ken Hewitt-White

Table of Contents

See what else January’s issue has to offer.


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