What is the Milky Way? It’s our home galaxy

When someone says "Milky Way," do you think of the starry pathway across our sky, or of the great pinwheel-shaped galaxy in space? Both are correct!

Comet 2022 E3 ZTF closest to Earth February 1 and 2

The green comet - Comet 2022 E3 (ZTF) - will be closest to Earth on February 1 and 2. It's prime time to view this comet, which might be the brightest of 2023.

Asteroid close encounter January 26: How to watch online

Asteroid close encounter today! Near-Earth asteroid (2023 BU) will pass safely 2,174 miles (3,500 km) away from Earth. Details here on how to watch online.

Mercury is up before sunrise: Start watching now

Watch for Mercury in the east before sunup in January 2023. Mercury reaches greatest elongation on January 30 and remains bright through the end of the month.

The 5 petals of Venus and its 8-year cycle

Learn about the 8-year cycle of Venus in our sky and the petals of Venus, a rhythmic motion of Venus when viewed from an Earth-centered perspective.

Jupiter closest to sun in 12 years on January 20

Jupiter's perihelion (closest point to the sun) comes January 20 at 12 UTC. The distance between the sun and Jupiter is now 460 million miles (740 million km).

Top tips for observing the sun safely

There's a giant sunspot visible in January 2023. Some tips for observing the sun safely, plus videos and links, here.

Visible planets and night sky January and February

In January, the morning planets are Mercury and Mars, and the evening planets are Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars. Moon near Venus and Saturn on January 23.

The green comet: Comet 2022 E3 ZTF

Learn about the trajectory of the green comet - Comet 2022 E3 ZTF - by the renowned astronomer Guy Ottewell. The comet will be closest to Earth on February 2.

What is a variable star?

What is a variable star? It's a star that brightens and dim in a cycle that might last hours, or weeks, or months, or longer. Astronomers know millions!