Larry Sessions
Two yellow shining balls.

Capella is sometimes called the Goat Star

The 6th-brightest star in the night sky, Capella, is the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere constellation Auriga the Charioteer. This star is also one of the points in the Winter Hexagon.

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.

No leap second for December 31, 2020

World timekeepers have decreed there will be no leap second on December 31, 2020.

Jupiter and Saturn, annotated, above holidays lights.

Will Jupiter and Saturn appear as one star in 2020?

Jupiter and Saturn – the 2 biggest planets in our solar system – are very close together on December 21. Will they look like one star? Some answers here. Plus, possible astronomical explanations for the Star of Bethlehem or Christmas star.

The Large Magellanic Cloud, our galactic neighbor

The Large Magellanic Cloud is a petite galaxy visible with the unaided eye – all year round – for those in the Southern Hemisphere. This small neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way is somewhere between spiral and irregular in shape.

Find the Geminids’ radiant point

Why is the Geminid meteor shower best around 2 a.m.? It’s because that’s when the shower’s radiant point – near the bright star Castor in the constellation Gemini – is highest in the sky.

Can you see stars’ colors with your eye alone?

December is the perfect time for noticing the colors of the stars. Never noticed them? Today’s sky chart can help guide your eye.

Seeing things that aren’t there? It’s called pareidolia

Seeing a dragon in a patch of clouds or a face on the moon, are examples of what’s called pareidolia. Take a look at these photos to test your own abilities to recognize patterns.

A star map showing how to find the Andromeda Galaxy from Alpheratz.

Alpheratz belongs to Andromeda, but is part of the Great Square

Alpheratz, the brightest star in the constellation Andromeda, can help you locate the Andromeda Galaxy, the closest large spiral galaxy to our Milky Way home galaxy.

Use the Big Dipper to find the North Star

The 2 outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper always point to Polaris, the North Star.