Sailboat in solhouette in front of a setting sun. The sun has a top layer of green.

Look for the legendary green flash

A sea horizon is best for seeing a green flash, but any distant, flat horizon will do. Look at the last moment before the sun sets.

Before they disappear, watch for Orion and Sirius

Orion the Hunter is one of the sky’s most noticeable constellations. Sirius is the sky’s brightest star. As Earth revolves around the sun, they’re both about to disappear for awhile. Here’s how to star hop from Orion’s Belt to Sirius.

springtime-big-dipper-arcurus-spica.jpg

Follow the arc to Arcturus, drive a spike to Spica

If you only ever learn one star mnemonic, make it this one!

Star chart showing the Southern Cross - aka Crux - and highlights its brightest star Acrux.

Acrux, brightest star in Southern Cross

You have to go far south on Earth’s globe to see the Southern Cross constellation. Bluish Acrux, aka Alpha Crucis, is its brightest star.

See the zodiacal light

With the moon waning, those in the Northern Hemisphere might glimpse the mysterious zodiacal light in the west after true darkness falls. Southern Hemisphere? Look east before dawn.

Moon passes in front of the Winter Circle asterism of brilliant stars on March 21 and 22, 2021.

Moon and Winter Circle on March 21 and 22

The ecliptic – sun and moon’s path, marked in green on our chart – cuts through the Winter Circle. So, every month the Circle is visible, the moon sweeps through these stars.

Fastest sunsets happen near the equinoxes

We’re talking about the amount of time needed for the body of the sun to sink below the horizon. It’s true. The sun actually sets faster around the time of an equinox.

Pyramid-shaped hazy band of zodiacal light, next to a bright section of the starry Milky Way.

It’s time to watch for the zodiacal light

The zodiacal light is an eerie light extending up from the horizon. This is a good time of the year to see it in the evening from the Northern Hemisphere. Southern Hemisphere, look before dawn!

Looking at the Summer Triangle in the eastern prwedawn/dawn sky in March.

Summer Triangle, signpost for all seasons

The Summer Triangle’s 3 brilliant stars – Vega, Deneb and Altair – are up before dawn in March, before midnight in May and at dusk on the summer solstice.

Zodiacal light is a glowing pyramid after dark

From the Northern Hemisphere, look after true darkness falls for the elusive zodiacal light. It appears as a hazy pyramid of light extending up from the sunset point. Southern Hemisphere? Look before dawn!

Arc to Arcturus, a springtime star

Arcturus is one of the easiest stars to find. Late at night in February – earlier as the months pass – just locate the Big Dipper in your northern sky. Then follow the arc in the Dipper’s handle to find yellow-orange star Arcturus.

Star-hop from Pegasus to the Andromeda galaxy

The 4 stars of the Great Square of Pegasus are easy to find. Ready? Let’s star-hop!

Hare and Dove at Orion’s feet

If you have a dark sky, you can see Lepus the Hare and Columba the Dove. They’re 2 faint constellations near the easy-to-find constellation Orion.

See the Double Cluster in Perseus

First, find the M- or W-shaped constellation Cassiopeia. The Double Cluster – 2 open star clusters – is nearby and beautiful in a dark sky.

Star chart with arrow from Big Dipper to North Star Polaris

Big Dipper stars point to North Star

The 2 outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper always point to the North Star, aka Polaris. That’s why astronomers call these stars The Pointers.

Achernar marks the end of the River

The bright, southerly star Achernar marks the end of the River in the constellation Eridanus. Many at northerly latitudes make a game of trying to catch a glimpse of it.

Moon inside Winter Circle.

Identify stars in the Winter Circle

Go outside, and look for the waxing gibbous moon tonight. Then notice the stars nearby. Tonight’s moon is within the Winter Circle stars.

Look for Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper

Watch the celestial clock and its 2 great big hour hands – Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper – as they swing around the North Star every night!

How to find the Winter Hexagon or Winter Circle

The brightest stars in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter sky form the shape of a large hexagon, or circle, that will help you locate 6 constellations.

See a faint star cluster near bright Sirius

Sirius is easy to find. It’s the sky’s brightest star. If you have binoculars and a dark location, look near it for the star cluster M41.