The Milky Way and the location of its central black hole as viewed from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Image credit: ESO/José Francisco Salgado, EHT Collaboration

Milky Way is HUGE

July 27, 2022

Did you see the Milky Way yet? When you do, take a sec to ground yourself. You’re gazing out upon a huge galaxy…from within. Our solar system is 26,000 light years from the center of the galaxy which stretches 100,000 light years across. In terms of mileage, that’s 100,000 x...

Milky Way Galaxy seen over the Very Large Array, New Mexico. Credit NRAO/AUI/NSF, Jeff Hellerman

Milky Way Galaxy

July 26, 2022

Summertime is prime time for seeing our Milky Way galaxy! It stretches across the entire night sky from Cassiopeia in the north, overhead through Cygnus and Aquila, and down to the southern horizon in between Sagittarius and Scorpius. Tips: Find a dark sky away from city lights Avoid looking at...

Graphic from Sky Safari showing the eastern horizon with Venus to the left, Orion rising and the waning crescent Moon in between the Hyades cluster in Taurus and the Pleiades

Winter at Dawn

July 22, 2022

Is the heat getting to you? Not to worry, the winter stars are rising earlier every day. Look to the east tomorrow before dawn to see the Moon nicely placed between the Pleiades and Hyades. Orion is rising too! Graphic credit: Stellarium

Graphic showing the size of one half of the Moon during perigee and the other half of the Moon (side by side) at apogee. credit NASA/JPL

Super Full Moon

July 13, 2022

See the Super Full Moon tonight! The Moon’s orbit isn’t circular, it’s an ellipse (oval). During every orbit around the Earth it reaches a closer (perigee) distance and farther (apogee) distance from us. Tonight it happens to be near perigee + it’s a full moon = SUPERMOON!

Photo taken on the ISS of sunrise. Earth's atmospheric layers are visible.

Happy Aphelion!

July 4, 2022

Happy Aphelion Earthlings! We’re farther away from the Sun today than any other time of the year. Why? Our orbit isn’t circular, it’s more like an oval. Why is it hot? It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere because the Earth’s axis is tilted toward the Sun & the days are...

Graphic from Stellarium showing the all the planets along the ecliptic, plus the moon. Eastern and southern horizon are in view.

See ALL the Planets

June 24, 2022

Make the most of your observing time before dawn on June 24th and see ALL of the planets, the Moon, plus asteroid Vesta! (Sorry, Pluto! We still love you.) Find an unobstructed eastern horizon to begin the tour arcing along the ecliptic to spot each object. You’ll need a telescope...

This visible imagery, captured by the GOES East (GOES-16) satellite on June 21, 2018, shows the pattern of Earth's illumination by the sun just before the solstice. Notice how the daylight terminator, the shadow that separates day and night across Earth, appears highly slanted.

Summer Solstice

June 21, 2022

Happy Summer Solstice! It’s the longest day of the year (and the shortest night) for northern hemisphere inhabitants. The tilt of the Earth's axis is the reason for the seasons. Enjoy the sunshine! Read more about this amazing image from NOAA titled The Summer Solstice Seen from Space . Photograph...

Graphic from Stellarium showing the all the planets along the ecliptic in order

My Very Excellent Mother Just Served…

June 4, 2022

Watch a parade of planets in the order of their orbits around the Sun before dawn. Remember the mnemonic? My Very Excellent Mother Just Served… All are visible without optical aid! It’s been about 100 years since this happened and it won't happen again until 2041. So, enjoy the especially...

Graphic from Stellarium showing Jupiter and Mars touching and Venus to the lower left and Saturn to the upper right

Jupiter and Mars conjunction

May 29, 2022

Catch the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus about a month ago? You're in for a treat again on Sunday, May 29th before dawn when Mars joins the action, along with Jupiter. The two planets are slightly more than 1/2 degree apart (1 full moon width). Saturn and Venus are still...

Diagram of the eclipse showing the entire duration of the moon's path through the earth's shadow

Total Lunar Eclipse

May 15, 2022

Watch a Total Lunar Eclipse on May 15th when the Sun, Moon and Earth line up to create this magnificent sight! The duration of the eclipse, from start to finish, will be almost 5 hours. Totality will last 1 hour, 24 minutes, 52 seconds. Here are more details: Moonrise: May...