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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 03/04/2023 05:15AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for March 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In March, the stars of spring lie eastward. Look for the constellations Gemini and Cancer to spot interesting celestial features like star clusters M35, the Beehive Cluster (M44), and NGC 3923, an oblong elliptical galaxy with an interesting ripple pattern. Find the Y-shaped constellation Taurus the bull, high in the southwest. The Hyades star cluster forms the bull's face. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of February 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 01/29/2023 02:02AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of February 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for February 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In February, the Winter Triangle is your guide to the night sky. The northern hemisphere is treated to views of the stars Procyon, Sirius, and Betelgeuse, as well as awe-inspiring views of the Orion Nebula, sculpted by the stellar winds of central bright stars. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of January 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 01/05/2023 03:07AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of January 2023

Happy New Year and welcome to the night sky report for January 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The January sky is filled with bright stars in the constellations Orion, Taurus, Gemini, Canis Major, and Canis Minor. Find these cosmic gems by looking toward the southeast in the first few hours after it gets dark. The northern hemisphere also features beautiful views of Capella - a pair of giant yellow stars, Aldebaran - a red giant star, two star clusters - the Hyades (Caldwell 41) and the Pleiades (M45), and the Crab Nebula (M1, NGC 1952). As a special treat during the month, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) is observable with binoculars or a small telescope in the predawn sky for Northern Hemisphere observers as it works its way swiftly across the northern sky. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of December 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 12/04/2022 01:13AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of December 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for December 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The Moon sweeps past Jupiter twice this month, and actually covers Mars completely, in an event called an occultation, on December 7th. The event is visible across the U.S., except for the Southeast and East Coast, where the Moon will graze closely past Mars. Step outside on a cold December night when the stars shine bright to find the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, and Cepheus. They will help you locate a binary star system (Eta Cassiopeiae), a fan-shaped open star cluster (M103 or NGC 581), and a variable star (Mu Cephei). Also, throughout the month, you can find Pegasus, the winged stallion, high overhead in the south. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 11/03/2022 01:48AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for November 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In November, hunt for the fainter constellations of fall, including Pisces, Aries, and Triangulum. They will guide you to several galaxies and a pair of white stars. Look for spiral galaxy M74 and M33, the Triangulum Galaxy. Also, a lunar eclipse and the Leonid meteors will be visible during the month. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of October 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 10/02/2022 02:45AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of October 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for October 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. Enjoy the two giant planets Jupiter and Saturn all night throughout the month. Then watch as Mars begins its retrograde motion, moving westward each night instead of eastward, for the next few months. Finally, check out the Orionid meteors overnight on Oct. 20th. The crisp, clear October nights are also full of celestial showpieces for the deep sky gazer too. Find Pegasus, the flying horse of Greek myth, to pinpoint dense globular star clusters and galaxies. Look for M15, NGC 7331, and M31 - the Andromeda Galaxy. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of September 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 09/03/2022 08:01AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of September 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for September 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In September, Pegasus becomes increasingly prominent in the southeastern sky, allowing stargazers to locate globular clusters M2 (NGC 7089), M30 (NGC 7099), as well as a nearby double star, Alpha Capricorni, which is an optical double (but not a binary pair). Also, Mars on the move during the month and it is prime viewing time for Jupiter. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase, so get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of August 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 07/29/2022 11:17PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of August 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for August 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The daily parade of four naked-eye planets in the mornings comes to an end this month. But there are still lots of great highlights, especially if you have access to binoculars. Plus, Saturn and Jupiter are returning to nighttime skies. In August, a flock of star-studded figures soars overhead. Look for the constellation Lyra, shaped as a small parallelogram, which points to Epsilon Lyrae and the Ring Nebula. You can also spot three bright summer stars: Vega, Deneb, and Altair, which form the Summer Triangle. And August is a great month to learn an easy-to-spot constellation – Cygnus the swan. The outlook for the Perseid meteors isn't great due to a full moon on the peak night of August 12, but still it's worth keeping an eye out for early Perseids after midnight the week before. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of July 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 07/04/2022 09:40PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of July 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for July 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The naked-eye planets of dawn – Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn – dominate the sky this July, appearing more spread out each morning. In July, find the constellation Scorpius to identify the reddish supergiant star Antares, which will lead you to the globular star cluster M4 (NGC 6121). M22 (NGC 6656), in the constellation Sagitarius, another globular cluster, is one of the brightest clusters in the sky and is visible with the naked eye. Keep observing around the group of stars commonly known as the Teapot and you’ll be looking toward the center of the Milky Way. In that direction, you can see the Lagoon Nebula (M8, NGC 6523), the Omega Nebula (M17, NGC 6618), and the Trifid Nebula (M20, NGC 6514). Next, if you're feeling the July heat, note the origin of phrase "the dog days" of summer, which has to do with the bright star Sirius, also known as the “Dog Star.” The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of June 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 06/05/2022 12:15AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of June 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for June 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. Though the nights are shorter in June, they are filled with fine sights. Look for the Hercules constellation, which will lead you to a globular star cluster with hundreds of thousands of densely packed stars. Globular cluster M13 (the Hercules Cluster, NGC 6205) is best observed with a telescope, but binoculars will reveal it as a fuzzy spot. You can also spot Draco the dragon, which will point you to the Cat’s Eye Nebula (C6, NGC 6543). The morning quartet of Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mars continues to shine, though they will spread farther apart over the next couple of months. And the constellation Lyra is easily located thanks to its brightest star, Vega.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of May 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 05/01/2022 10:52PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of May 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for May 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In May, we are looking away from the crowded, dusty plane of our own galaxy toward a region where the sky is brimming with distant galaxies. Locate Virgo to find a concentration of roughly 2000 galaxies and search for Coma Berenices to identify many more. Coma Berenices is a great target for binoculars. Look for galaxies like M104 (Sombrero Galaxy), M87 (Virgo A Galaxy), and M64 (Black Eye Galaxy). May also provides for some great planet spotting, including a close conjunction of Jupiter and Mars. At mid-month, a total eclipse of the Moon should delight skywatchers across the Americas, Europe, and Africa. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard and follow the advice of James Marshall Hendrix (aka. Jimi Hendrix -- apparently a fellow admirer of the heavens): "Excuse me while I kiss the sky."

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of April 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 04/02/2022 01:36AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of April 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for April 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. Clear April nights are filled with starry creatures. Near the Big Dipper, you will find several interesting binary stars. You can also spot galaxies like the Pinwheel Galaxy (NGC 5457, M101), the Cigar Galaxy (NGC 3034, M82), and M96 (NGC 3368) -- the last of which is an asymmetric galaxy that may have been gravitationally disrupted by encounters with its neighbors. The gathering of planets in the morning sky increases from three to four, as Jupiter joins the party. Two close conjunctions – between Mars and Saturn, and Venus and Jupiter – provide highlights at the beginning and end of the month. And the Big Dipper hosts a surprise: a double star you just might be able to "split" with your own eyes.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 03/04/2022 03:06AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for March 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In March, the stars of spring lie eastward. Look for the constellations Gemini and Cancer to spot interesting celestial features like star clusters M35, the Beehive Cluster (M44), and NGC 3923, an oblong elliptical galaxy with an interesting ripple pattern. Find the Y-shaped constellation Taurus, the bull, high in the southwest. The Hyades star cluster forms the bull's face. Look for Saturn to join Venus and Mars in the morning sky around mid-month.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of February 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 02/03/2022 09:26AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of February 2022

Welcome to the night sky report for February 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In February, the Winter Triangle is your guide to the night sky. The northern hemisphere is treated to views of the stars Procyon, Sirius, and Betelgeuse, as well as awe-inspiring views of the Orion Nebula, sculpted by the stellar winds of central bright stars. Jupiter is the lone planet lingering in twilight skies after sunset in February. It exits the evening sky this month leaving no bright planets there until August (save for a brief appearance from Mercury in April). Also Venus is at peak brightness for the year in the mornings, and it's a great time to view the Orion Nebula.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of January 2022

Posted by Guy Pirro 01/03/2022 10:12AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of January 2022

Happy New Year and welcome to the night sky report for January 2022 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The winter sky is filled with brilliant stars and this year, stargazing is at its best on the nights around the new moon at the beginning of the month. In January, the northern hemisphere features beautiful views of Capella - a pair of giant yellow stars, Aldebaran - a red giant star, two star clusters - the Hyades (Caldwell 41) and the Pleiades (M45), and the Crab Nebula (M1, NGC 1952). In the first week of January you can catch the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower. Then look for the Moon with Jupiter on January 5 and with Mars and Venus on January 29.