Larry Sessions

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.

Near 1st quarter moon.

Quarter moon or a half moon?

Half the moon always faces us. And half the moon is always lit by the sun. But, in the language of astronomers, there are no ‘half moons.’

Deneb is distant and very luminous

When you gaze at the bright star Deneb, you’re gazing across thousands of light-years of space.

Sun in blue sky between 3 buildings.

It’s summer. What’s noon to you?

What do you mean by noon? Do you define it by your clock or wristwatch? Or the gnawing in your stomach? Here’s how astronomers think about noontime.

Vega: Brilliant blue-white star in the Summer Triangle

Vega is 1 of 3 stars in an asterism – or noticeable star pattern – called the Summer Triangle in the early evening sky.

A single bright star, Regulus. Above it is a faint smudge of light, the dwarf galaxy Leo I.

Meet Regulus, the Lion’s Heart

The bright star Regulus is very prominent in the evening sky in May. It looks like a single point of light, but is really 4 stars. It’s the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

What is pareidolia?

Seeing a dog in a patch of clouds, or a face in the moon, are examples of what’s called pareidolia. Look here for photos to test your own ability to see things that aren’t there.

How Leo the Lion lost his tail

And how we gained a new constellation. Read about the Lion and the Queen’s Hair, one of skylore’s most famous legends, here.

Leo loses his tail. We gain a constellation

The constellation Leo once had a tail, a clump of faint stars. Now these same stars are known as Coma Berenices, the hair of a queen.

Moon in Gemini.

Moon and Gemini stars on April 1 and 2

Watch for Gemini’s 2 brightest stars – Castor and Pollux – near tonight’s moon. On the other side of the moon, you’ll see a 3rd bright star. It’s Procyon in the constellation Canis Minor, the Lesser Dog.