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Contemplate the apex of the sun’s way

Our sun moves around the center of the galaxy, toward the star Vega. Astronomers call this motion the apex of the sun’s way. One circuit – about 230 million years – is called a cosmic year.

Achernar marks the end of the River

The bright, southerly star Achernar marks the end of the River in the constellation Eridanus. Many at northerly latitudes make a game of trying to catch a glimpse of it.

A winding river of stars called Eridanus

Why search for such a faint constellation? Only because it’s very beautiful. Plus seeing Eridanus can give you a kinship with stargazers from centuries ago.

New Year’s Eve, in the Julian calendar

Happy Julian New Year! January 13, 2018 marks the last day of the year in the old-style Julian calendar. Why, and what happened when the calendars switched.

See the Unicorn on dark January nights

Within a triangle of 3 bright stars – hidden in between the many bright and glittering stars visible at this time of year – you’ll find the constellation of Monoceros the Unicorn.

See a faint star cluster near bright Sirius

Sirius is easy to find. It’s the sky’s brightest star. If you have binoculars and a dark location, look near it for the star cluster M41.

Predawn moon near Spica, planets

Still close after their spectacular conjunction on Sunday, the bright planets Jupiter and Mars appear near the bright star Spica and the waning moon Tuesday morning.

Look for Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper

Watch the celestial clock and its 2 great big hour hands – Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper – as they swing around the North Star every night!

Orion the Hunter easy to spot in January

It’s identifiable by Orion’s Belt, 3 medium-bright stars in a short, straight row at the mid-section of the Hunter.

Moon and Regulus on January 4

Look for the moon and Regulus to climb above your eastern horizon around mid-evening on January 4, 2018. From some places, the moon will pass in front of Regulus.

Latest sunrises happen in early January

Shortest day on solstice, but latest sunrises in early January at mid-northern latitudes. Southern Hemisphere? Your latest sunsets are around now.

Moonlight for 2018 Quadrantid meteors

The 2018 Quadrantid meteor shower is expected to exhibit its narrow peak January 3 around 21-22 hours UTC. The full supermoon nearly coincides, and moonlight will interfere with the shower.

Brightest star Sirius’ midnight culmination on New Years Eve

On New Year’s Eve, look up for the brightest star Sirius in the constellation Canis Major. It’s at its highest in the sky at midnight.

Bellatrix, in Orion, means Female Warrior

You might know Rigel and Betelgeuse, Orion’s brightest stars. Now meet 2 more stars in Orion, called Bellatrix and Saiph.

Planet Uranus in moon’s glare on December 27

The December 27 moon is close to the 7th planet, Uranus. The lunar glare glare will make it tough to spot, but notice stars nearby … and come back when the moon is gone.

Focus on stars Betelgeuse and Rigel

Many constellations have a bright star, but Orion has two: Rigel and Betelgeuse.

Star of the week: Aldebaran

Aldebaran – brightest star in Taurus the Bull – is huge! If it replaced our sun, its surface would extend almost to the orbit of Mercury.

Northern Cross upright in west now

It isn’t as famous as its counterpart, the Southern Cross. But the Northern Cross looks like a cross, and it’s pretty easy to spot.

Summer Triangle on winter evenings

How long into Northern Hemisphere winter will you be able to see the Summer Triangle?

Solstice sun at southernmost point

The December 2017 solstice comes in the morning hours on December 21 for North America. Learn how to find the time of the solstice in your area, and about what makes a solstice special.