See Messier 20, the Trifid Nebula

If you have an extremely dark sky, you can see the nebula on as a fuzzy patch in the Milky Way. Binoculars show more … and a telescope still more.

A star field showing brighter blue stars concentrated at the center, with a sparser scattering of fainter reddish, yellow, and blue stars.across the image.

Messier 11 is the Wild Duck Cluster

Messier 11 is a faint cluster of stars in a star-rich region of the night sky, in the direction of the heart of our Milky Way galaxy.

Find M4 near the Scorpion’s Heart

If you’ve never found a deep-sky object on your own before, M4 – a globular star cluster, one of the nearest to our solar system – is a grand place to start. It’s near the bright red star Antares in the easy-to-spot constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. To spot it, you’ll need a dark sky.

Towering plumes of gas and dust with stars in background.

The awesome beauty of the Eagle Nebula

The Eagle Nebula – aka Messier 16 or M16 – is home to several well-known cosmic structures, including the stunning Pillars of Creation and Stellar Spire.

An image of the night sky featuring M6 and M7 near Shaula and Lesath. In the foreground, firefly light trails appear in the silhouette of trees and over water.

M6 and M7 in the Scorpion’s Tail

Messier 6 and Messier 7 are star clusters near Scorpius’ stinger. But you’ll need a dark sky to see these faint but stunning stellar aggregations.

M5, your new favorite globular cluster

Sure, M13, the Great Hercules cluster, is wonderful. But some amateur astronomers say this cluster, M5, is even better. How to find it in your sky.

Giant star cluster Omega Centauri

All globular star clusters are impressive, but Omega Centauri’s in a class by itself. Sparkling with 10 million stars, it’s the Milky Way’s largest globular.

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.

The Beehive: 1,000 stars in Cancer

On a dark night, look for it as a smudge of light, with 3 times the moon’s diameter. It’s really a wondrous cluster of stars called the Beehive, or M44.

All you need to know: The famous Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula is a place where new stars are being born. It can be glimpsed with the eye alone … and is even more noticeable with binoculars. How to find it in your sky tonight. Plus … the science of this star factory in space.

Pleiades star cluster, aka Seven Sisters

The Pleiades star cluster – aka the Seven Sisters or M45 – is visible from virtually every part of the globe. It looks like a tiny misty dipper of stars.

Crab Nebula

The Crab Nebula was an exploding star

The Crab Nebula, about 6,500 light-years from Earth, is the scattered fragments of a supernova, or exploding star, observed by earthly skywatchers in the year 1054.

A celestial cloud of swirling gases.

See Messier 8, the Lagoon Nebula

The Lagoon – aka M8 – is the largest and brightest nebula, or cloud in space, in the vicinity of the Teapot asterism in the constellation Sagittarius.

Meet the Andromeda galaxy, the closest large spiral

The Andromeda galaxy is the closest big galaxy to our Milky Way. At 2.5 million light-years, it’s the most distant thing you can see with the eye alone. Now is the time to look for it.

Dark Rift in the Milky Way

Standing under a dark sky in late July or August? Look up! You’ll notice a long, dark lane dividing the bright Milky Way. This Dark Rift is a place where new stars are forming.

M17 is the Omega Nebula

The Omega Nebula – M17 – is visible through binoculars and glorious in a low power telescope. It’s one of our galaxy’s vast star-forming regions. How to find it.

What appears to be a densely populated star field with a few galaxies visible.

The Coma Cluster of galaxies

The Coma Cluster is one of the richest galaxy clusters known. How many suns and how many worlds might be located in this direction of space?

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.

Triangulum: 2nd-closest large 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.

Small Magellanic Cloud orbits Milky Way

You need to be in Earth’s Southern Hemisphere to see the Small Magellanic Cloud. It looks like a luminous cloud, but it’s really a dwarf galaxy, orbiting our Milky Way.