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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!

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.

Peer out our galaxy’s south window

Visualize looking from our Milky Way galaxy’s flat star-rich disk, into intergalactic space.

Watch for Taurid fireballs!

Maybe you’ve been watching for them already. A nominal peak of the shower is November 4 and 5, and the North and South Taurids are overlapping now.

Sky Bear comes to Earth in November

Every year, the Big Dipper (Great Bear) descends to its lowest point in the sky on November evenings.

Halloween ghost of the summer sun

At mid-northern latitudes, Arcturus sets about 2 hours after sunset around Halloween, at the same point on the horizon as the summer sun. It’s a Halloween ghost of the summer sun and an echo of long summer afternoons.

Tonight, find the Andromeda galaxy

The Andromeda galaxy is the closest big galaxy to our Milky Way. Here are a couple of different ways to find it. Just be sure your sky is dark!

Look for constellation Cassiopeia the Queen

It’s an easy constellations to identify. On these October evenings, look for Cassiopeia the Queen high in the northeast sky, not far from the North Star.

Watch after sunrise for a daytime moon

As it orbits Earth once a month, the moon is up during the day half the time, pale against the blue sky. You can see it this weekend, if you look.

Bright star Deneb transits at nightfall

This beloved Summer Triangle star is shifting westward in our sky. Its transit at nightfall in mid-October is a hallmark of the year, marking a shift toward winter – or summer – on your half of the globe.

Orange Arcturus sparkles after sunset

On October evenings, look for brilliant Arcturus in the west, flashing in colors. Follow the curve in the Big Dipper’s handle to this yellow-orange star.

Watch for false dawn or dusk

Watch for this eerie light about 2 hours before sunrise in the Northern Hemisphere. From the Southern Hemisphere, watch for it after sunset.

Find the Draconid radiant point

You don’t have to identify a meteor shower’s radiant point to watch the show. But the radiant of the Draconids is fun to find! Here are some ways to do it.

Watch for Draconid meteors in 2018

The Draconid shower will likely produce its greatest number of meteors on the evening of October 8 (not after midnight). Try the nights before and after, too.

Watch for Sirius, sky’s brightest star

Out before dawn? Look for Sirius, a brilliant beauty of a star. You’ll always know it’s Sirius if you see Orion’s Belt pointing to it.

Every visible star is within Milky Way

When you look up on a starry evening, you might think you’re looking across the universe. In fact, all the stars we see with the unaided eye belong to our Milky Way galaxy.

Meet Fomalhaut, the loneliest star

Fomalhaut is a bright star – visible from all but far-northern latitudes – located in a region of the sky that contains only very faint stars. So it appears solitary in the night sky.

All you need to know: September equinox

We have an equinox coming up on September 23 at 01:54 UTC. That’s September 22 for clocks in North America. Details here. Happy autumn (or spring)!

Equinox sun is over Earth’s equator

At an equinox, and for several days before and after, the midday sun is straight up at noon seen from Earth’s equator. At this equinox, the sun is crossing the celestial equator, moving from north to south.

Orion’s Belt points to dazzling Sirius

You’ll find Orion and the bright star Sirius up before dawn now. They’ll be shifting into the evening sky as the months pass.