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But – especially with last month’s 2nd data release from the Gaia satellite, whose job is measuring star distances – why don’t we know Deneb’s distance for certain?
A sea horizon is best for seeing a green flash, but any distant, flat horizon will do. Look at the last moment before the sun sets.
Deneb marks the Tail of Cynus the Swan … and the head of a crosslike pattern known as the Northern Cross.
Most astronomers would tell you that the best moon is no moon.
Gemini’s 2 brightest stars – Castor and Pollux – represent twins in many cultures.
Corvus is a small constellation, recognizable for its compact, boxy shape. It’s a fun one!
The Keystone is a noticeable pattern of 4 stars in the constellation Hercules. The bright star Vega acts as your guide to finding it.
Bright, bluish Vega marks the constellation Lyra the Harp.
Jupiter rises when the sun sets. It’s ascending in the east in evening twilight. Turn around and look for Venus in the west. Venus and Jupiter will be super bright as night falls, balancing the 2 sides of your sky.
What a great time to identify many bright stars! Let the moon be your guide.
Star hopping is a great way to learn the night sky. Start with the brightest, most noticeable stars and constellations and hop from there.
Sundial and clock agree every year in middle April. It means that, when the midday sun climbs highest, the sundial reads 12 noon and your local clock says 12 noon.
Many stargazers call it the finest globular cluster in the northern half of the heavens. It’s M13, also known as the Great Cluster in Hercules.
If you only ever learn one star mnemonic, make it this one!
Polaris – aka the North Star – marks the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. The 2 outer stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper always point to Polaris.
The Big Dipper is easy. And, once you find it, you can find the Little Dipper, too.
Vega, Deneb and Altair – the 3 brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle – are up before dawn in March.
Mizar and its fainter companion star Alcor are easy to spot in the Big Dipper’s handle.
The constellation Cancer the Crab is faint, the faintest constellation of the zodiac. Yet the bright moon on March 26, 2018 can help you find it.
The ecliptic – sun and moon’s path, marked in green on our chart – cuts through the Winter Circle. So, every month the Circle is visible, the moon sweeps through these stars.
Astronauts’ views of Mount Shasta