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What a great time to identify many bright stars! Let the moon be your guide.
Star hopping is a great way to learn the night sky. Start with the brightest, most noticeable stars and constellations and hop from there.
Sundial and clock agree every year in middle April. It means that, when the midday sun climbs highest, the sundial reads 12 noon and your local clock says 12 noon.
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.
If you only ever learn one star mnemonic, make it this one!
Polaris – aka the North Star – marks the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. The 2 outer stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper always point to Polaris.
The Big Dipper is easy. And, once you find it, you can find the Little Dipper, too.
Vega, Deneb and Altair – the 3 brilliant stars of the Summer Triangle – are up before dawn in March.
Mizar and its fainter companion star Alcor are easy to spot in the Big Dipper’s handle.
The constellation Cancer the Crab is faint, the faintest constellation of the zodiac. Yet the bright moon on March 26, 2018 can help you find it.
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.
To astronomers, the word “luminous” refers to a star’s intrinsic brightness. Sirius is our sky’s brightest star, but only because it’s relatively nearby at 8.6 light-years away.
As Earth makes its grand tour around the sun each year, the constellations all shift westward in our sky. Orion is a good one to notice.
Epsilon Aurigae’s light dims for a period of about 2 years, in a 27-year cycle. The star’s last dimming was from 2009 to 2011.
The Big Dipper is easy to recognize, but the Little Dipper … not so much. Here’s a tip that can help.
The 2 outer stars in the Big Dipper’s bowl point to the North Star, aka Polaris.
The moon is waning again, leaving the sky dark in early evening. Watch for the mysterious zodiacal light in the west after true darkness falls. Southern Hemisphere? Look east before dawn.
The most important key is to think of the moon as a world in space, with a day and night side.
How to find to find the constellation Taurus in your night sky. Plus the names of some of its bright stars and star clusters and its mythology.
Tonight and tomorrow night, let the moon show you the constellation Taurus the Bull on the great dome of sky. How to recognize the Bull’s 2 most prominent features, here.
See it! Moon sweeps past Venus