EYES TO THE SKY February 4 – 17, 2019

February 5, 2019, one-hour before sunrise.
Image: Judy Isacoff, Starry Night

Every day, a ball of fire crosses the sky.             This bizarre reality was so flabbergasting in ancient times that people could relate to it only with worship. The Aztecs and Egyptians were far from alone in regarding the Sun as a god. The Persians, Incas, and Tamils (of southern India) also elevated the Sun to […]

EYES TO THE SKY January 21 – February 3, 2019

January 31, southeast to south-southeast, one hour before sunrise.
Image by Judy Isacoff/Starry Night

All week, and into next, there is a dance taking place on the celestial dome; the glittering partners move close to each other, change their positions, flirt with a crescent moon, and part. Tomorrow is the culmination of this winter’s unfolding relationship between brilliant planet Venus and radiant Jupiter: they arrive at conjunction – closest […]

EYES TO THE SKY January 7 – 20, 2019

Astrophotographer James Jordan captured this view of the Super Blue Blood Moon at totality from Oakland, California.

 “When you think about it, there aren’t many celestial objects that change color…. But now, on January 20, the Moon will have real color, deep color.” Bob Berman, Astronomer* The year begins with celestial dynamics that excite our appetite for beauty and spark our capacity for wonder. The most dramatic event is a total eclipse […]

EYES TO THE SKY December 24, 2018 – January 6, 2019


The dark of night extends into morning most noticeably from today through mid-January: in our neighborhood, the Sun rises around 7:20am. It is the ideal time to observe planet Venus, the Morning Star, shining brightly high in the southeast as late as 7am. During the whole period of this post, civil twilight begins just half […]

EYES TO THE SKY December 10 – 23, 2018

The delightful meteor shower image, "The November Meteors" by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot, would have been inspired by the annual Leonid meteor shower.

This week, December’s Geminid shower is predicted to peak Thursday the 13th after 10pm into Friday the 14th before dawn, with 2am as optimum observing. For details about the Geminids, click here. To view the original Trouvelot lithograph in the exhibition, “Extreme Nature!”, at The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, click here. Sunset, December […]

EYES TO THE SKY October 29 – November 11, 2018

The constellation Cygnus the Swan.
The bright star Deneb represents the Tail of Cygnus.
Image via Constellation of Words.

The Summer Triangle, a majestic, nearly isosceles triangle shaped by three of the brightest stars visible at northern latitudes, is prominent in evening skies from June through December. Vega, Altair and Deneb – in descending order of brilliance – are so luminous that we can spot them in the deepening blue of twilight. http://earthsky.org/tonight/use-summer-triangle-to-locate-flat-plane-of-milky-way On […]

EYES TO THE SKY October 15 – 28, 2018

Photo from Goldpaint Photography of the 2011 Orionid meteor shower near Mount Shasta, California.
It's a composite of every meteor captured during the night.  Image via EarthSky.org

  A waxing crescent moon appears to the upper left of planet Saturn in the south-southwest as darkness gathers tonight, the 15th. On the 16th, a half moon (first quarter) is suspended further left of Saturn, approaching red Mars, the most riveting point of light in the sky. By the 19th, a waxing gibbous (larger […]

EYES TO THE SKY October 1 – 14, 2018

Arcturus is roughly 25 times greater in diameter than our sun. Arcturus/Antares/sun size comparison image via Wikimedia Commons.

When the great orange star, Arcturus, makes its debut in the east around the Spring Equinox, we look through bare trees in the darkness to see the distant sun rise above the horizon. The second brightest star in northern skies – next to Sirius – Arcturus is harbinger of warm weather. Now, as leaves change […]