Here is a constellation that’s easy to see on the sky’s dome, if your sky is dark enough. Corona Borealis – aka the Northern Crown – is exciting to find. It’s an almost-perfect semi-circle of stars. This beautiful pattern will adorn the evening sky from now until October.
M13 is a densely packed globular cluster of about 300,000 stars, more than 25,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Hercules.
From mid-northern latitudes, you can easily find the brilliant star Vega in the eastern sky at dusk and nightfall. Vega acts as your guide star the Keystone – a pattern of four stars in the constellation Hercules. The Keystone, in turn, is your ticket to finding a famous globular star cluster in Hercules, otherwise known as Messier 13.
The North Star or Pole Star – aka Polaris – is famous for holding nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. Polaris is not the brightest star in the nighttime sky, as is commonly believed. Polaris is only about 50th brightest. Still, this star has been a boon to travelers throughout the Northern Hemisphere, both over land and sea. Follow the links inside to learn more about Polaris, the North Star.
Summertime star parties! We just added many new events to this list of astronomical events throughout the U.S. and Canada. Find one near you, join in and have fun!
Tonight – May 23, 2016 – we’re just one day past Mars once-in-26-months opposition. In other words, yesterday Earth flew between Mars and the sun. What a wonderful event! However, 2016’s opposition of Mars – although good – doesn’t bring Mars as close to Earth as the extremely close opposition of 2018. Find out about close and far Martian oppositions, inside…
The May 22 opposition of Mars presents Mars at its closest to Earth in over 10 years, or since the opposition of November 7, 2005. Super-close oppositions of Mars recur in periods of 15 to 17 years. The last super-close Martian opposition happened on August 28, 2003, and the next one will occur on July 27, 2018. Extra-close oppositions happen when we go between Mars and the sun around the time Mars is closest to the sun. Makes sense, right?
For both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, full moons have names corresponding to calendar months or seasons of the year.