Explore the Night with Bob King

Summer Quest for Noctilucent Clouds

Noctilucent clouds form at the boundary between Earth and space. Their electric blue billows incite the imagination and inspire us to keep watch at dusk for their arrival.

Celestial News & Events

Catch a "Shooting Star"

The Delta Aquariid meteor shower ramps up in late July, and you already have everything needed to enjoy the show: your eyes.

Celestial News & Events

Aurora Alert — Check Your Skies

A huge coronal mass ejection from the Sun struck Earth's magnetic field around 11:00 UT (6 a.m. EST or 3 a.m. PST) on Thursday, March 8th.

Celestial News & Events

An Amazing Aurora Video

Night after freezing night, Norwegian photographer Ole Salomonsen gathered aurora photos — 50,000 in all — to produce a breathtaking video that reveals the northern lights' true splendor.

Celestial News & Events

Zodiacal Light in the Evening

The zodiacal light is on its best display in the Northern Hemisphere on moonless evenings from February through April.

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Sunday's Virginia Fireball:
A Meteor, Not a Rocket Reentry

If you were outside at 9:40 on Sunday evening, March 29th, between Maryland and North Carolina, you didn't even have to be looking up.

Celestial News & Events

Will the Leonids Roar Again?

Anyone who remembers the spectacular displays of Leonid meteors in 1999–2002 would surely love to see them again. Good news! Theorists predict that the Leonids might be back for a modest encore in mid-November 2009.

Celestial News & Events

Meteor Strike Forecast for Oct. 6-7

Many telescopes around the world are looking for asteroids that might potentially hit Earth. Every candidate has turned out to be a false alarm — until now!

Celestial News & Events

Aurigids Aplenty!

Just as predicted, the Aurigid shower delivered a burst of meteors created by particles shed by a comet more than 2,000 years ago.

Stargazing with Tony Flanders

Pollution and Stargazing

Air pollution can be as much of a problem as light pollution for stargazers.

Astronomy Questions & Answers

What is a Sundog, and How Did "Sundogs" Get Their Name?

Why are "sundogs" called by that name? Before answering the why question, let me answer the what question that comes before: namely, what is a sundog, or mock Sun, in the first place? A sundog is a concentrated patch of sunlight occasionally seen about 22° to the left or right…

Saturn and Antares

Hobby-based Q&A

What was that flashing light in the sky?

I'm new to astronomy (1½ months) and I live in New Jersey. Last night, July 31st, I saw a bright planet (I assume Jupiter) in the southwestern sky, and just below it what looked like an airplane with a flashing red tail marker — but it never moved. When I…

Centaur 2nd-stage rocket

Celestial News & Events

What was the cloud spotted near the western horizon August 31, 2004?

Around 9 p.m. on August 31, 2004, I saw a bright patch of light about half the size of the Moon near the western horizon. It moved slowly upward and fluctuated somewhat in brightness. Through an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope here in New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania, there were two points of light…

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