Skywatching videos

January 2022

January 24: Track the moon from near Antares in Scorpius on Thursday morning to near Mars in Sagittarius Saturday morning. Venus climbs toward Mars as well. Find Kaus Borealis in the lid of the teapot of Sagittarius and use binoculars to search for open star clusters in the region.

January 17: See Venus, Mars and Scorpius in the morning sky with the stars of Canis Major and open star cluster M41 in the evening sky.

January 10: Keep tracking Mars in the morning sky and get prepared for Venus to follow. Jupiter and Saturn are sinking lower in the evening sky. Catch them now before they, too, join Mars and Venus in the morning sky as the year wears on. The moon passes by the Pleiades and Aldebaran this week. Check out open star clusters M35, M36, M37 and M38.

January 3: Watch the moon near Jupiter and Saturn on the evenings of the 4th and 5th. Try to dig Mars, near Antares, out of the morning glow of the sun and use that apparent string of Jupiter to Saturn to Venus to Sun to Mars to envision the flattened plane nature of the solar system. Think about the elliptical nature of our orbit as we are at closest approach to the sun this week.


December 2021

December 27: Check out the string of bright Jupiter, Saturn and Venus in the evening sky. See Arcturus and Spica in the morning sky, with the moon near Spica on the morning of the 28th. Try to split binary star Porrima in Virgo.

December 20: Paying close attention now will allow you to track sunset times getting later each day (if you live in the northern hemisphere). Follow the moon as it passes close by bright stars in Gemini and Leo.

December 13: Don't miss the Geminid meteor shower on the evening of the 13th and morning of the 14th. Then use that as an excuse to observe Gemini the rest of the week.

December 6: This is an observing week not to miss. Each night from the 6th through the 8th, the waxing crescent moon is near one or more of bright Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. It's a great time to see the Summer Triangle in the evening sky. Then watch as parts appear again in the morning sky.


November 2021

November 29: Now through early spring, Orion is well-placed for observing. Observe the stars of this bright constellation, as well as faint star clusters and bits of nebulosity beyond the famous star birth region that marks Orion's sword.

November 22: It's Thanksgiving week in the United States, so observe the outlines of 3 stellar cornucopias in the sky: Capricornus, Pisces and Andromeda. Enjoy the planetary, stellar and galactic treasures they hold. Jupiter is still sliding by Deneb Algedi. Great double stars can be seen as well as interesting galaxies.

November 15: Try observing a few Leonid meteors after the moon has set on the mornings of the 16th and 17th. The moon is very near Uranus on the evening of the 17th; use a small telescope to see if you can find the planet. Use the moon to identify identify the star Menkar in Cetus. For the Americas, there's a partial lunar eclipse on the morning of the 19th. It's a busy observing week.

November 8: Last week we talked about watching Jupiter and Saturn move against the background stars. Add Venus this week, as it races through Sagittarius. Don't miss the moon near Jupiter and Saturn on the 10th and 11th.

November 1: Jupiter and Saturn still shine brightly in the evening sky. November is a great month to mark their eastward motion against the stars of Capricornus. Globular star clusters M2 and M30, and double star Beta Capricorni are interesting objects in the area.


October 2021

October 25: Follow the waning moon from Taurus through Gemini to Cancer as the week progresses. Check out the Beehive Cluster and Crab Nebula later in the week when the moon is less bright.

October 18: Don't let the bright moon deter you from searching out a few Orionid meteors, perhaps before peak when the moon is farther from the radiant.

October 11: See Pegasus and Andromeda in the evening and Leo in the morning, constellations we often associate with opposite times of the year. Check out the gamma star in each constellation and galaxies M31 and M33. Don't miss the moon near Jupiter on the evening of the 14th.

October 4: Look for bright stars Fomalhaut and Altair while using Jupiter and Saturn to find fainter stars in Capricorn. Check out star clusters M72 and M73 in the region.


September 2021

September 27: It's a great time of year to explore the constellation Lyra. Start at bright star Vega to identify stars of the constellation & find double stars, a variable star, a famous planetary nebula and a good globular cluster.

September 20: Identify stars Diphda and Fomalhaut with the moon nearby early in the week. As the moon wanes think about how solar system geometry is tied to moon rising and setting times as well as phase. Late in the week the waning moon is near the Hyades and Pleiades open star clusters in Taurus.

September 13: Find the stars of Cassiopeia and Perseus. Watch eclipsing binary Algol coming out of eclipse on the evening of September 15 if you are in North America.

September 6: Follow the arc from Jupiter to Saturn to Venus, using your geometrical imagination to envision the flattened plane of the solar system. Use that arc to find bright stars Antares, Altair and Vega.


August 2021

August 30: See iconic stars of summer in Sagittarius and Scorpius just after sunset. See iconic stars of winter in Orion, Taurus and Auriga just before sunrise. Challenge yourself to see, and identify, a few Aurigid meteors.

August 23: Identify the stars of Sagittarius along with several bright open star clusters as the region lies about midway between Saturn and bright star Antares.

August 16: As the moon waxes toward full this week and tracks eastward against the background stars it has nice pairings with bright star Antares, Saturn and Jupiter.

August 9: It's Perseid meteor shower week! This year looks to be a good one with only a little moon interference. Getting out whenever it is dark and clear from the 11th through the 14th should be rewarded with meteors.

August 2: Use bright star Antares to locate a series of fainter stars and globular star clusters in Scorpius.


July 2021

July 26: We have Jupiter, Saturn and a meteor shower in the sky after midnight each night this week.

July 19: With the stars of the Summer Triangle high overhead for observers at mid-northern latitudes near midnight, now is a good time to start tracking them into autumn. I recommend checking out beautiful double star Albireo. The moon is relatively nearby midweek

July 12: It will be worth the effort to watch Venus and Mars all week, with the pair particularly near one another on the 12th and 13th, as the slender crescent moon passes by.

July 5: Now is a great time to identify the stars of Scorpius and Sagittarius and observe open star clusters M6 and M7 near the border between the two constellations.


June 2021

June 28: Visit the stars of Virgo before they become hard to observe as we slip into summer. Look for galaxies in the region but pay special attention to binary star Porrima. I recommend starting a multi-decade Porrima observing project because what could be more fun?

June 21: Observe the moon near Antares, the bright orange star in Scorpius. Use Antares to locate other stars in Scorpius and then see the moon near Saturn.

June 14: Watch Venus climb higher in the evening sky over the next several weeks as it heads toward a meeting with Mars in July.

June 7: Use the stars of the Summer Triangle to find star Rasalhague in Ophiuchus and the constellation Hercules with its spectacular globular cluster M13.


May 2021

May 31: Wait, what? Another video about the stars in Leo? Yes! This week we use the stars in the tail - Denebola, Zosma and Chertan - to locate galaxies M65 and M66.

May 24: An introduction to the bright stars of Leo - Regulus, Denebola and Algieba, along with a discussion of astronomical seeing and angular resolution.

May 17: We have been spending time looking at the stars of the evening spring sky over the past month. This week watch the moon move past the stars of Leo and Virgo - a new close pairing every night!

May 10: Return to the Arcturus to Spica region and use those bright stars to locate Serpens and globular cluster M5.

May 3: Another meteor shower, the Eta Aquarids should have meteors visible all week. Use it as an excuse to let Saturn and Jupiter point you in the direction of Aquarius.


April 2021

April 26: Draw a line from bright star Arcturus to Denebola in Leo and use that line to find globular clusters and galaxies.

April 19: You can watch the Lyrid meteor shower next week. Before that you can watch me urge you to watch the Lyrid meteor shower next week and to think about where those meteors are coming from.

April 12: Familiarize yourself with the bright stars of spring - Arcturus, Spica and Regulus - over the next few weeks and throw in the constellation Corvus for good measure. After that we can return to find distant galaxies in this region.

April 5: The Big Dipper climbing higher into the evening sky as it tells us spring has arrived. Watch roll around until morning when it points back down toward the ground.


March 2021

March 29: Back at the beginning of the month we tried hard to dig Saturn and Jupiter out of the glow of the sun. Now they are easy to spot in the morning sky and they point the way to Sagittarius and the center of the Milky Way. It's a reminder of how they sky is a constant for us and yet ever-changing.

March 22: Here, I suggest you return to observe the bright stars Castor, Pollux and Regulus as the moon passes through this week, making the stars of the region easier to locate. Don't be shocked that someone who has imaged the same small patch of sky every clear night for nearly two decades suggests spending two consecutive weeks to get familiar with a particular region of sky.

March 15: Observe the bright stars Castor, Pollux and Regulus with the fainter stars of Cancer and open star clusters M44 and M67 between Pollux and Regulus

March 8: As winter fades into spring, observe the stars of Lepus and Canis Major, and open star clusters M46 and M47.

March 1: Jupiter and Mercury will be in conjunction this week. If the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction was hard to see last December, this one is incredibly tough but still fun to try and good to watch this part of the morning sky for the next several weeks.


February 2021

Week of February 22: As we turn toward spring, check out the bright stars of winter with the nearly full moon moving through them.

Week of February 15: Watch the moon slide past Mars, then the Pleiades. Use these to find variable star Mira.

Week of February 8: Mars is racing away from its conjunction with Uranus 3 weeks ago, closing on the Pleiades star cluster over the next few weeks. Start watching now!

Week of February 1: After suggesting you turn your attention away from the Summer Triangle last week, I recommend turning it back this week. See it, Cassiopeia and Scorpius in the morning sky.


January 2021

Week of January 25: Turn your attention from the Summer Triangle of stars to what I am promoting as the "Winter Triangle" of fuzzy objects - the Double Cluster of stars in Perseus and galaxies M31 and M33.

Week of January 18: Forget about the "great" conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn last month while you watch the "really quite nice" conjunction of Mars and Uranus unfold.

Week of January 11: Use clear evenings ahead to watch Orion getting higher in the sky as we progress through January. Pay special attention to bright stars Rigel and Betelgeuse.

Week of January 4: Think about planetary orbits as you watch Venus sink lower in the morning sky, awaiting Jupiter and Saturn's morning arrival a little later in the year.


December 2020

Week of December 28: Watch sunset get markedly later over the next few weeks and think about our annual closest approach to the sun.

Week of December 21: Here in the darkest part of winter I recommend returning to the stars of the Summer Triangle and using them to think a little about geometry.

Week of December 14: Get Ready for the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn over the next week. They're a bit easier to see now and the moon adds interest.

Week of December 7: Watch the Geminid meteor shower, peaking overnight from the 13th into the 14th.


November 2020

Week of November 30: Observe the stars of Andromeda and Perseus and make the most of two chances this week to see eclipsing binary star system Algol reach minimum light.

Week of November 23: Follow the moon past Pisces and Cetus next week, guiding you to the historically important galaxy M77.

Week of November 16: Observe two globular star clusters, one in Pegasus and one in Aquarius.

Week of November 9: Find the constellation Lepus and the interloping globular star cluster M79.

Week of November 2: The stars of Taurus, with the moon very near bright star Aldebaran.


October 2020

Week of October 26: Observing the Great Square of Pegasus, Andromeda with the the Andromeda Galaxy, Mars and the moon.

Week of October 19: Envisioning the flattened disk of the solar system looking at the string of planets across the sky.

Week of October 12: Properties of the Summer Triangle stars.

Week of October 5: Returning to Venus in the morning sky as it moves very near the bright star Regulus in Leo.


September 2020

Week of September 28: Thinking about how scattering of light makes stars, the moon and planets both dimmer and redder and how the same process allows us to see the daytime sky and makes it blue.

Week of September 21: Stars appearing further west in the sky at the same time on later dates

Week of September 14: A first look at the stars in the Summer Triangle

Week of September 7: Venus and Orion in the morning sky


August 2020

Week of August 31: Observing open star clusters in Cassiopeia

Week of August 24: The moon slides past Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn as it heads from Sagittarius into Capricornus