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Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of June 2024

Posted by Guy Pirro 05/31/2024 11:54PM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of June 2024

Welcome to the night sky report for June 2024 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. All the planetary action continues to be in the morning sky, with Saturn and Mars rising in the early morning hours. They are joined later in the month by Jupiter. A number of online sources have created excitement about a "Parade of Planets" that will be visible in the morning sky in early June. Unfortunately we are in for a bit of a disappointment because in reality, only two of the six planets (Saturn and Mars) will actually be visible. In early June, Jupiter and Mercury will be at or below the horizon in the morning twilight and not visible… And Uranus and Neptune are too far and too faint to be seen without a telescope, especially as the morning sky brightens. During the month, 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 night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of May 2024

Posted by Guy Pirro 05/07/2024 07:14PM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of May 2024

Welcome to the night sky report for May 2024 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. See Mars, Saturn, and Mercury in the May morning sky and the eta Aquariid meteors, which peak on May 6th courtesy of remnants from Halleys Comet. 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). The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of April 2024

Posted by Guy Pirro 04/04/2024 11:56PM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of April 2024

Welcome to the night sky report for April 2024 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. A total solar eclipse sweeps across the United States on April 8th, as the Moon's shadow moves from Texas northward through Maine. Areas outside totality will enjoy a partial eclipse. Also, there's still time to observe comet 12P this month. During April, 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 night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of March 2024

Posted by Guy Pirro 03/02/2024 04:52PM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of March 2024

Welcome to the night sky report for March 2024 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. There's a comet making its way into the inner Solar System that's already observable with a telescope and might start to become visible to the unaided eye by late March or in April. Comet 12P Pons-Brooks has been observed on several of its previous appearances going back hundreds of years and one thing it's known for is its occasional outbursts. 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.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of February 2024

Posted by Guy Pirro 02/06/2024 08:56PM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of February 2024

Welcome to the night sky report for February 2024 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. Venus is beginning its exit from the morning skies this month, just as Mars returns to visibility. 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 Great Orion Nebula (M42, NGC 1976), sculpted by the stellar winds of central bright stars as well as Bode’s Galaxy (M81, NGC 3031). The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of January 2024

Posted by Guy Pirro 01/04/2024 02:40AM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of January 2024

Happy New Year and welcome to the night sky report for January 2024 -- 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). The moderate Quadrantid meteor shower is active from Dec. 28 to Jan. 12, and peaks overnight on Jan. 4th. The Moon will wash out faint meteors, but the shower often produces bright fireball meteors. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of November 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 11/04/2023 05:55PM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of November 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for November 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. This month, hunt for the fainter constellations of fall, including Pisces, Aries, and Triangulum. They will guide you to several galaxies, including the spiral galaxies M74 and M33. Saturn rides high during the month and Venus and Jupiter are visible on opposite sides of the sky. Also, the Leonid meteors peak this month. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of October 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 10/08/2023 04:06PM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of October 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for October 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The crisp, clear October nights are full of celestial showpieces for the deep sky gazer. 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. A "Ring of Fire" solar eclipse across the Americas on October 14th is this month's top highlight. Plus the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus strike some lovely poses for stargazers and planet watchers to enjoy. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of September 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 09/02/2023 05:55PM

Excuse Me While I Kiss the Sky -- Month of September 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for September 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. This September, Venus returns to the early morning skies as a bright beacon in the east, the full moon at the end of the month is a Harvest Moon, and if you have access to dark skies away from urban light pollution, you might be able to glimpse the faint, glowing pillar of the zodiacal light. 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). 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 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 08/06/2023 03:32PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of August 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for August 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. Saturn reaches opposition this month, meaning it's at its biggest and brightest for the year, and visible all night. The "shooting stars" of the annual Perseid meteors are a must-see overnight on August 12th. And this month brings two full moons – the second of which is a "Super Blue Moon." In August, a number of star-studded figures soar 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 night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of July 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 07/05/2023 10:33PM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of July 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for July 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. In July, Mars and Venus go their separate ways, Saturn cruises with Fomalhaut -- a dusty young star, and it's prime time to view the Milky Way in all its glory. 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 the phrase "the dog days" of summer, which is a reference to 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 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 06/05/2023 07:07AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of June 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for June 2023 -- 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. Throughout the month Mars and Venus draw nearer each evening in the western sky following sunset. The pair will appear a bit lower in the sky each night. Also, 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 night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of May 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 05/04/2023 09:09AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of May 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for May 2023 -- 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). 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 2023

Posted by Guy Pirro 04/03/2023 03:46AM

Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of April 2023

Welcome to the night sky report for April 2023 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. During April, 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. Also, during the month, the planet Mercury – smallest and fastest moving of the planets in our Solar System – will reach its highest and most visible place in the evening sky for the year. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.

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.