Category Archives: Stargazing

In the sky: the perigee Moon

It’s that time of year again. Time for another round of stories to circulate about the alleged “supermoon”–if by “super” you really mean the Moon’s at perigee. Perigee is the point where the Moon is at the closest point in … Continue reading

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In the sky: Saturn

Saturn is an old favorite for stargazers. The most distant of the classical planets, and widely regarded as the most majestic, its stately 30-year orbit means that it doesn’t move too much from year to year, making it easier to … Continue reading

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In the sky: Comet PanSTARRS is here

The first bright comet of 2013 is entering the northern skies this weekend. Comet C/2011 L4 (PanSTARRS) will be brightest for the next three days or so, rivaling the stars of the Big Dipper. The exact position in the sky … Continue reading

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First look at Comet PanSTARRS

2013 could be a banner year for comets, with not one, not two, but three of them being visible to the naked eye. Two are already visible in the Southern Hemisphere, as seen in the video, and they’ll be coming … Continue reading

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In the sky: the Wolf Moon

Okay, you probably don’t need a stargazing guide to find the Moon. If it’s up, it’s pretty easy to spot, even in the daytime. Tonight, it’s even easier, since it’s a full Moon, specifically, the Wolf Moon, the traditional name … Continue reading

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In the sky: the Geminid meteor shower

Tomorrow night, December 13-14, will be one of the most impressive meteor showers of the year: the Geminids. Meteor showers are caused when Earth crosses the orbit of a comet. Even if the comet is nowhere near Earth at the … Continue reading

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In the sky: Jupiter

Look to the east after sunset, and you will see a particularly bright star, which is not a star at all–it’s the planet Jupiter. Jupiter is a favorite target of amateur astronomers because it’s one of the easiest objects in … Continue reading

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In the sky: the Double Cluster

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, as most of you are, then late autumn and early winter is a great time to see some of the most famous objects in the night sky, like the Pleiades, the Andromeda Galaxy, and … Continue reading

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Intro to Celestia

Have you ever wondered what the night sky looks like on Mars? Or Pluto? Or Alpha Centauri? How about finding out the relative positions of the planets on March 28, 2073 (as a science fiction writer might want to do)? … Continue reading

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Comet watch

This is Comet C/2012 S1 (ISON), currently out past the orbit of Jupiter. Believe it or not, all of those letters and numbers actually mean something. The C/ means that it is a long-period comet, originating in the very distant … Continue reading

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