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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of May 2021

Posted by Guy Pirro 05/03/2021 01:24AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of May 2021

Welcome to the night sky report for May 2021 -- 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. Key deep sky objects this month are galaxies like M104 (the Sombrero Galaxy), M87, and M64 (the Black Eye Galaxy). At the beginning of the month, the bright planet Saturn will appear to the left of the half-lit Moon and the Moon will form a large triangle with the bright planets Saturn and Jupiter. Around the middle of May you will have an opportunity to see all three of the rocky inner planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) at the same time. At the end of the month, look for a total lunar eclipse.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of April 2021

Posted by Guy Pirro 04/02/2021 10:07PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of April 2021

Welcome to the night sky report for April 2021 -- 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, M82, and M96—the last of which is an asymmetric galaxy that may have been gravitationally disrupted by encounters with its neighbors.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2021

Posted by Guy Pirro 03/04/2021 12:50AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of March 2021

Welcome to the night sky report for March 2021 -- 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 and the Beehive Cluster (M44), as well as NGC 3923, an oblong elliptical galaxy with an interesting ripple pattern. Look for Mars close to the Pleiades in the first couple of weeks of March. Then wake up early to observe the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn, which return as morning planets this month.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- February 2021

Posted by Guy Pirro 02/04/2021 04:10PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- February 2021

Welcome to the night sky report for February 2021 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The brightly starred winter sky beckons on clear, cold nights. In February, the Winter Triangle is your guide to the night sky. The northern hemisphere treats an observer to views of the stars Procyon, Sirius, and Betelgeuse (which together make up the Winter Triangle) and to awe-inspiring views of the Orion Nebula, which is sculpted by the stellar winds of central bright stars. See the bright star Regulus near the Moon and look for Mercury in the first days of February. You'll need a clear view toward the west, as Mercury will appear just a few degrees above the horizon.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of February 2021

Posted by Guy Pirro 02/02/2021 08:12PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of February 2021

Welcome to the night sky report for February 2021 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The brightly starred winter sky beckons on clear, cold nights. In February, the Winter Triangle is your guide to the night sky. The northern hemisphere treats an observer to views of the stars Procyon, Sirius, and Betelgeuse (which together make up the Winter Triangle) and to awe-inspiring views of the Orion Nebula, which is sculpted by the stellar winds of central bright stars. See the bright star Regulus near the Moon and look for Mercury in the first days of February. You'll need a clear view toward the west, as Mercury will appear just a few degrees above the horizon.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of January 2021

Posted by Guy Pirro 01/03/2021 04:01PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of January 2021

Happy New Year and welcome to the night sky report for January 2021 -- 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. 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). Earth reaches the closest point in its elliptical orbit around the Sun, called perihelion on January 2. The Sun won't appear noticeably larger in the sky – only about 3% larger. (Of course, you should never look at the Sun without proper eye protection. Remember, sunglasses are not sufficient for viewing the Sun). The distant, outer planet Uranus is too faint to see with the unaided eye, and it can be tough to locate in the sky without a computer-guided telescope. But on January 20, Uranus will be located right between the Moon and Mars. Look for Mercury in the last two weeks of January. You'll need a clear view toward the west, as Mercury will appear just a few degrees above the horizon. 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 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 12/07/2020 12:02AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of December 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for December 2020 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. 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, a fan-shaped open star cluster, and a variable star. Also this month, catch the Geminids meteor shower. Then see Jupiter and Saturn come together in a conjunction to form a "double planet." Just after sunset on the evening of December 21st, Jupiter and Saturn will appear closer together in Earth’s night sky than they have since the year 1226 -- That’s 800 years ago during the Middle Ages. Is this like the Star of Bethlehem? No, not really -- I realize it is just two planets coming together in the sky (not a star), it’s pointing west instead of east, and it is a few days early for Christmas, but I couldn’t resist making the connection, so work with me here. (Interesting side fact, some have speculated that the true Star of Bethlehem could have been the conjunction of Jupiter and Venus near the bright star Regulus that occurred in the year 2 BC). 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 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 11/02/2020 03:11PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of November 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for November 2020 -- 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 find several galaxies and a pair of white 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 October 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 10/03/2020 04:25PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of October 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for October 2020 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In October, Pegasus, the flying horse of Greek myth, becomes increasingly prominent in the southeastern sky. Look for M15 (NGC7078) and NGC7331. This October also brings a Harvest Moon and a Blue Moon. Plus look for Mars at any time of the night. 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 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 09/02/2020 04:28PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of September 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for September 2020 -- 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) and M30 (NGC 7099), as well as a nearby double star, Alpha Capricorni, which is an optical double (but not a binary pair). The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of August 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 07/28/2020 02:04PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of August 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for August 2020 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. 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. 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 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 06/27/2020 12:36AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of July 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for July 2020 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In July, find the Scorpius constellation to identify the reddish supergiant Antares, which will lead you to discover a trio of globular star clusters, as well as three nebulas: the Omega Nebula (M17), the Lagoon Nebula (M8), and the Trifid Nebula (M20).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 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 06/09/2020 03:02PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of June 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for June 2020 -- 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. You can also spot Draco the dragon, which will point you to the Cat’s Eye Nebula. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of May 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 05/05/2020 12:48AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of May 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for May 2020 -- 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. Then search for Coma Berenices to identify many more. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of April 2020

Posted by Guy Pirro 04/09/2020 12:46AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of April 2020

Welcome to the night sky report for April 2020 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. Clear April nights are filled with galaxies. You can spot M101 (the Pinwheel Galaxy), M81, and M82. Venus climbs higher in the sky each evening, crossing through the Pleiades star cluster. Mars continues its getaway from Jupiter and Saturn. Also, “the Moon illusion” will be visible during the month as the moody and sometimes downright haunting vista of a huge, yellowish-colored Moon rises above the horizon.