skywatching

Ethereal apparitions from the dusty inner solar system this week seem certain to delight sky-watchers.  Zodiacal lights. Starting Monday, March 24, and continuing through the week, keen-eyed sky-watchers in the mid-northern latitudes will witness the ghostly glow of the zodiacal lights, which will appear about one to two hours after local dusk in the western sky….

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With a change of seasons only days away, mid-March skies offer celestial sights that even the novice stargazer will find easy to enjoy. Lunar rectangle. After nightfall on Monday, March 10, look for the waxing gibbous moon to form a corner of a rectangle with Jupiter and the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux, high in the southern…

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A final glimpse of the seventh planet from the sun comes this week, and the moon takes sky-watchers on a celestial tour of some stunning star clusters. Last-chance green giant. After dusk on Monday, March 3, the razor-thin crescent moon acts as convenient guidepost to the fast-fading planet Uranus, which will hang just below the moon….

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A glimpse of a large asteroid comes to delight sky-watchers this month, silently sailing its way through a cosmic bull’s horns and past a famous supernova remnant. In the next few weeks, the asteroid Herculina, the 532nd asteroid to be discovered, will glow in the sky at a magnitude of brightness of about 10. That should…

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From exploding stars, barnstorming asteroids, and a buzzing beehive, the starry skies this week are filled with cosmic wonders to behold. Supernova Update: A surprise star exploded in a spiral galaxy 12 million light years from Earth and appears to be slowly brightening in the evening skies. The Cigar Galaxy or Messier 82 is host…

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When stargazers dream of the ultimate destination for looking up at the heavens, the high-altitude Atacama Desert in northern Chile likely stands at the top of the list. Nature videographer Nicholas Buer recently shot this stunning film, taken over 12 days while he camped out in the San Pedro de Atacama region of northern Chile. Sitting at an altitude…

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A silvery moon this week points sky-watchers to some of the brightest constellations of the season, offering glimpses of gemlike stars, lunar moments, and the possible last gasps of a faded comet. Moon and winter gems. Late evening on Monday, January 13, look for a ring of winter’s brightest stars to surround the waxing gibbous…

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  The New Year promises a pair of lunar disappearing acts and a potential surprise meteor shower, among other celestial delights. While scores of amazing astronomical phenomena are in the offing, here are our picks for sky-watching events worth circling on your calendar for 2014. 1. Total Eclipse of the Moon This year sky-watchers will…

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As festivities kick off the New Year, sky-watchers will revel in nights filled with shooting stars, the king of planets shining like a beacon, and grand planetary spectacles blooming in the heavens. Great Orion Nebula. With the moon reaching a new phase for New Year’s Eve, December 31, the dark skies are perfect for hunting…

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Filled with shooting stars and Jovian moons playing tag, some of the most sparkling gifts of this holiday season can be found  this week in the night sky. Full Moon with Stellar Beacons. As the sun sets on Monday, December 16, a full moon rises in the east – the smallest of 2013. Despite the bright glare,…

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Sky-watchers this week can follow Earth’s lone natural satellite as it glides across the sky and poses with some of the most well known celestial treasures. Moon and Pisces.  After nightfall on Monday, December 9,  look for the first quarter moon to hang just below the “Circlet,” the most easily recognizable part of the constellation…

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The waxing crescent moon appears to play peek-a-boo with the planet Venus through a natural rock arch in this dramatic snapshot taken in Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. Sky-watchers this week got to see Earth’s lone natural satellite glide past the second planet from the sun in the southwestern skies. The two worlds…

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As we head toward the final days of November, skywatchers spy pretty planetary and lunar pairings and a mythical hunter, while anxiously waiting to learn of the fate of comet ISON as it rounds the sun. Moon and Regulus. In the hours before sunrise on Tuesday, November 26, look for the last quarter moon to…

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Comets dominate the pre-dawn skies and their flybys of neighboring planets offer observing challenges for early bird sky-gazers.  Comet ISON Brightens. Late last week Comet ISON began to wake up and now shines ten times brighter than it did just a week earlier. At magnitude 5.5 it has finally reached naked-eye levels from dark locations, according…

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