How to see 2018’s brightest comet

Comet 46P/Wirtanen is closest to the sun today. It’ll be closest to Earth next week. With the moon waxing and casting more light in the sky, the time to see the comet is now. Charts, tips and other info here.

10 tips for watching the Geminids

#1. Geminid meteor numbers tend to intensify as evening deepens into late night, with the greatest number of meteors likely falling an hour or 2 after midnight. That’s true no matter where you are on the globe.

Find the Geminids’ radiant point

Why is the Geminid meteor shower best around 2 a.m.? It’s because that’s when the shower’s radiant point – near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini – is highest in the sky.

All you need to know: Geminid meteor shower in 2018

The peak of the Geminid meteor shower is coming up on the mornings of December 13 and 14.

What is the Local Group?

A word about our home galaxy – the Milky Way – within the Local Group, and the Virgo and Laniakea superclusters.

The spectacular Large Magellanic Cloud

The Large Magellanic Cloud, which is visible to the unaided human eye, might look like a small, faint bit of the Milky Way that’s broken off. But really it’s a separate small galaxy, thought to be orbiting our larger Milky Way.

Will December’s full moon be a supermoon?

The last of 2018’s 13 full moons falls on December 22. It’s the 3rd-closest full moon in 2018, but is it a supermoon?

Messier 33: 2nd-closest spiral galaxy

The Triangulum galaxy, aka Messier 33, is 2.7 million light-years away, and the 3rd-largest member of our Local Group, after the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies.

December guide to the bright planets

In December, 2018, the dazzlingly bright object up before the sun is Venus. Mercury and Jupiter join Venus in the east before sunup, around mid-December. Saturn sets soon after sunset. Mars stays out until around midnight.

When is my earliest sunset?

For the southernmost U.S and similar latitudes, the earliest sunsets of the year are happening now. Your earliest sunset depends on your latitude, but always comes before the winter solstice.

Pleiades star cluster, aka Seven Sisters

November is sometimes called “the month of the Pleiades,” because this cluster is now so well placed for viewing in the evening sky.

The enduring mystique of Barnard’s Star

Sometimes called Barnard’s Runaway Star, it’s one of the best known stars in the history of astronomy and in popular culture.

Venus hovers near Spica

Venus and the bright star Spica have been near each other for some days, and will remain so for a few days longer. We’re now in the middle of the best time to see them near each other in the east before sunup.

All you need to know: 2018’s Leonid meteor shower

Here are all the details you need for 2018’s Leonid meteor shower, peaking on the morning of November 17 or 18. Hint: Saturday morning will have less moonlight!

Star Al Risha binds the Fishes of Pisces

The star Al Risha in the constellation Pisces isn’t bright. But – at the tip of the graceful V in Pisces – it’s very noticeable.

How to see Venus in daytime

Another time of greatest brilliancy is coming up for Venus, when many spot this brightest of planets in a blue daytime sky. Here’s how you might try it.

What’s the youngest moon you can see?

It’s rare to see a moon within 24 hours of new moon. This week, we received a couple of images of even-younger moons. What’s the youngest moon you can see? Info and pics here.

Almach: Quadruple star system

With your eyes alone, Almach looks like a single star. Through a telescope, it looks like a colorful duo. But today we know Almach is really 4 stars.

All you need to know: Taurid meteors

Although a modest shower, perhaps offering 5 meteors per hour, the Taurid shower lasts over a month and is known for producing dramatic fireballs.

Moon is waning, but Venus is waxing!

Venus is near the waning moon early this week. Yet if you followed Venus with a telescope in the coming weeks, you’d find it’s a waxing, not a waning, crescent.