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Deneb is distant and very luminous

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?

Look for the legendary green flash

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, tail of Cygnus the Swan

Deneb marks the Tail of Cynus the Swan … and the head of a crosslike pattern known as the Northern Cross.

Which moon phase best for stargazing?

Most astronomers would tell you that the best moon is no moon.

Moon and Gemini stars May 18 and 19

Gemini’s 2 brightest stars – Castor and Pollux – represent twins in many cultures.

Meet Corvus the Crow

Corvus is a small constellation, recognizable for its compact, boxy shape. It’s a fun one!

Find the Keystone in Hercules

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 star Vega on May evenings

Bright, bluish Vega marks the constellation Lyra the Harp.

We go between sun and Jupiter May 8-9

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.

Moon in Winter Circle April 19 to 21

What a great time to identify many bright stars! Let the moon be your guide.

How do you star hop?

Star hopping is a great way to learn the night sky. Start with the brightest, most noticeable stars and constellations and hop from there.

Clock time and sun time agree

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.

Meet M13, the Great Cluster in Hercules

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.

Follow the arc to Arcturus, and drive a spike to Spica

If you only ever learn one star mnemonic, make it this one!

Use the Big Dipper to find the Little Dipper

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.

Come to know the Big and Little Dippers

The Big Dipper is easy. And, once you find it, you can find the Little Dipper, too.

Summer Triangle, signpost for all seasons

Vega, Deneb and Altair – the 3 brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle – are up before dawn in March.

Mizar and Alcor, famous double star

Mizar and its fainter companion star Alcor are easy to spot in the Big Dipper’s handle.

Moon and faint Cancer on March 26

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.

Moon sweeps through Winter Circle March 23 and 24

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.