Amazing Stargazing Sights This Week

Written by The Night Sky Guy on June 2, 2014 – 7:35 pm -

Jupiter and its largest moons will be one of this weeks highlights in the night sky.

Jupiter and its largest moons will be one of this week's highlights in the night sky.

Sky-watchers in the right place and the right time may get to see a green comet, a very rare triple shadow on Jupiter and the moon having close encounters with planets and stars.

By far the easiest sky events for the unaided eyes and visible nearly everywhere around the world will be when the moon has close encounters with Mars and the bright star Spica towards the end of this week.

Easily seen even under heavily light polluted skies within city limits, the moon and a handful of stars and planets never fail to please even the beginner sky-watcher.

So take the time to get outside the next clear night and look up!

Get all your observing details for these and other sky events this week at my weekly skywatching column at National Geographic News.


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World Celebrates the Universe in April

Written by The Night Sky Guy on April 3, 2014 – 6:39 am -

2014GAM_200Get set to party with the stars this month! The world’s largest program dedicated to sharing the wonders of the universe kicks off an exciting series of events for space geeks throughout this month.

This year’s Global Astronomy Month (GAM2014) brings together astronomy enthusiasts and organizations worldwide to share the passion for the night sky with everyone, celebrating the motto of “One People, One Sky.”

Founded and coordinated by the international astronomy advocacy organization Astronomers Without Borders (AWB), this month-long star party is in its fifth year and is better than ever with a jam-packed schedule of out-of-this-world programs.  From virtual tours of the night sky, astopoetry contest, cosmic concert and global star parties there is something for everyone.

Check out the entire program schedule here


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Luna Visits Red Planet

Written by The Night Sky Guy on February 18, 2014 – 6:29 pm -

This is the view towards the southwest in the early morning of February 20th. Credit: SkySafari by Simulation Curriculum

This is the view towards the southwest in the early morning of February 20th. Credit: SkySafari by Simulation Curriculum

Early bird sky-watchers get to see the Moon glide past our neighboring planet, Mars.

Before Dawn on Thursday, February 20, the brilliant moon will join the Red Planet and the bright, white star Spica.
Riding alongside Spica, the red planet is easy to spot rising in the northeastern sky around 10 pm local time. However the best views are through a telescope at high magnification just before local dawn, when the planet sits nearly overhead, looking toward the south.

The best is yet to come in April when the views of Mars will get better as the distance between our two planets decrease and its planetary disk therefore increases in size, even now some of its surface features are visible.


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Amazing Stargazing Sights This Week

Written by The Night Sky Guy on February 10, 2014 – 3:31 pm -

Credit: Spaceweather.com

Credit: Spaceweather.com

On this very special week we celebrate Valentine’s Day the sky is full of romance too with the moon pointing to a giant  lion’s heart and the mythical goddess of love shining at its most brilliant.

Over the course of the next few days there is a whole line-up of stargazing targets for both the unaided eyes to backyard telescopes.

The brightest planets in the sky remain both Jupiter and Venus. Meanwhile you can still catch Mercury as it is fading fast low in the evening twilight in the southwest horizon.  Your best chance to see the innermost planet now is with binoculars.

Mars aficionados will have to wait until near midnight for it to rise in the east and will be at its highest in the south in the pre-dawn hours. If you have good atmospheric conditions a telescope will show off some of its largest surface features. Best views of the Red Planet though will be in April when its apparent diameter will be 50% wider.

Finally Saturn rises around local 1 am  and climbs to its highest point in the southern sky by dawn.  You can get a two-for-one deal since Mars will be its far right.

Get all your observing details for these and other sky events this week at my weekly skywatching column at National Geographic News.

Follow Andrew Fazekas, the Night Sky Guy, also on Twitter and Facebook


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Amazing Stargazing Sights This Week

Written by The Night Sky Guy on January 27, 2014 – 9:10 pm -

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Sitting more than 2,100 light years from Earth, the Little Beehive Cluster shines bright in the evening sky this week. Credit: NOAO

As we head towards the final days of January, the night sky is filled with cosmic wonders, from a supernova explosion, Mercury at its best, and Martian close encounters.

For the naked-eye observers nothing beat the moon gliding past bright planets – and this week Luna’s close encounter with Venus will be a beauty. For binocular observers – the forth brightest asteroid is fairly easy to hunt down in Pisces constellation in the evenings, while a stunning open star cluster hits prime-time  in backyard telescope with scores of diamond-like stars huddling together.

Get all your observing details for these and other sky events this week at my weekly skywatching column at National Geographic News.


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Watch Planets Parade Across Night Skies

Written by The Night Sky Guy on February 28, 2012 – 5:09 pm -

Have clear skies tonight? Then get outside and look up at the best show in town!  For the first time in almost a decade, sky-watchers this week will be able to see all five naked-eye planets over the course of one night for several nights in a row.

The classical naked-eye planets—Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn—can be seen easily without optical aids and so have been known since ancient times.

But the quintet hasn’t appeared together during a single night since 2004.

What’s more, this week’s parade of planets will be joined in the nighttime skies by the waxing crescent to waxing gibbous moon and the superbright stars Sirius and Canopus.

Read the rest of my story on this spectacular sky show on National Geographic News website


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