March 2023

The month starts with a close paring of Venus and Jupiter. Look west as darkness begins. With binoculars you may spot Vesta nearby. In a telescope, Venus is gibbous and Jupiter has little companions called the Galilean moons because Galileo was the first to see them. Venus traverses Pisces the rest of the month, climbing […]

February 2023

For comet watchers, the most exciting thing this month is sure to be C/2022 E3 (ZTF). It will be closest to Earth on the 1st at approximately 12 hours UT at 42.47 million kilometers. That’s 26.39 million miles or 0.284 astronomical units. Comet brightness is notoriously hard to predict. It’s expected to be visible to […]

January 2023

Happy New Year! 2023 starts with Mercury in retreat. After its close encounter with Venus on the last evenings of 2022, the messenger planet is sinking fast into the sunset. Depending on where you are, it may already be too late for you to see it on the first night of the year because it […]

December 2022

Venus and Mercury are evening objects and hard to see as the month starts. Observers close to the equator and in the low southern latitudes have the best view of Mercury pulling up higher than Venus alongside the stars of Sagittarius. Mercury is close to Kaus Borealis (the northern bow star) on the evening of […]

November 2022

Our November evenings start with Saturn close to the meridian and Jupiter risen already well above the horizon at sunset. Uranus is rising when darkness begins. Mars rises mid-evening. It’s a little brighter and left of Aldebaran rising at about the same time. Aldebaran leads one leg of a V-shaped asterism called the Hyades, in […]

October 2022

The moon is up in the evening approaching first quarter at October’s start. Southern lunistice will be on the 2nd at 27.4° from the equator. The first quarter phase will be the next day. Then on the 4th, the moon’s at perigee 369,400 km from Earth. The thickening gibbous disk passes by Saturn on the […]

September 2022

Mercury leaves the evening sky, goes through inferior conjunction, and enters the morning sky this month. It’ll be better in the morning sky for northern hemisphere sky watchers this month than it was in the evening for them last month. It’ll take until the last few days of the month to show up though. Venus […]

August 2022

Moon’s movements Our August evenings start with a crescent moon setting and Mercury below it in Leo. The messenger planet is hard to see at first from the northern hemisphere. But keep looking night to night and it’ll show up. On the opposite side of the sky, Saturn’s rising in Capricornus. The waxing moon moves […]

July 2022

Earth farthest from the sun, Mercury closest Earth is farthest from the sun on the 4th. It’s 152 million kilometers or 94.5 million miles away. In six months, the sun’s disk will appear 3.6% bigger. That’s not something the human eye can detect—and don’t try without eye protection! Only in photographs or with measurements taken […]

June 2022

The month starts with a waning crescent moon at northern lunistice and setting in the evening along with bright stars Procyon, Pollux, Castor, and Capella. Procyon is the bright star in the little dog Canis Minor. See Gomeisa to its right. Pollux and Castor are better known, because they are the head stars in Gemini […]