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To astronomers, the word “luminous” refers to a star’s intrinsic brightness. Sirius is our sky’s brightest star, but only because it’s relatively nearby at 8.6 light-years away.
As Earth makes its grand tour around the sun each year, the constellations all shift westward in our sky. Orion is a good one to notice.
Epsilon Aurigae’s light dims for a period of about 2 years, in a 27-year cycle. The star’s last dimming was from 2009 to 2011.
The Big Dipper is easy to recognize, but the Little Dipper … not so much. Here’s a tip that can help.
The 2 outer stars in the Big Dipper’s bowl point to the North Star, aka Polaris.
The moon is waning again, leaving the sky dark in early evening. Watch for the mysterious zodiacal light in the west after true darkness falls. Southern Hemisphere? Look east before dawn.
The most important key is to think of the moon as a world in space, with a day and night side.
How to find to find the constellation Taurus in your night sky. Plus the names of some of its bright stars and star clusters and its mythology.
Tonight and tomorrow night, let the moon show you the constellation Taurus the Bull on the great dome of sky. How to recognize the Bull’s 2 most prominent features, here.
Before going to bed tonight, locate the Big Dipper in your northern sky, and then follow the arc in the Dipper’s handle to find yellow-orange star Arcturus.
Lepus the Hare and Columba the Dove are 2 faint constellations near the easy-to-find constellation Orion. You need a dark sky to see them.
Rigel is far, some 775 light-years away. It must be extraordinarily luminous to be so distant yet shine so brightly in our sky.
First, find the M- or W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia. The Double Cluster – 2 open star clusters – is nearby and beautiful in a dark sky.
The two outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper always point to the North Star, aka Polaris. That’s why astronomers call these stars The Pointers.
Groundhog Day is tied to the movement of Earth around the sun. It’s the year’s 1st cross-quarter day.
From the Northern Hemisphere, look for the elusive zodiacal light, a hazy pyramid of light extending up from the sunset point. Southern Hemisphere? Look before dawn!
Castor and Pollux – brightest stars in the constellation Gemini the Twins – are noticeable for being bright and close together on the sky’s dome.
Go outside, and look for the waxing gibbous moon tonight. Then notice the stars nearby. Tonight’s moon is within the Winter Circle stars.
The bright star Aldebaran is part of a V-shaped pattern of stars called the Hyades. This easy-to-find star cluster represents the face of Taurus the Bull.
Will you see Aldebaran in the moon’s glare on January 26 or 27, 2018? Plus … the story of Aldebaran when it was part of a double pole star.
An unusual shot of anticrepuscular rays