You are here

Last Week's Stargazing Tips

January 17: Moon and the Twins

The Moon lines up with the twins of Gemini tonight. Pollux, the brighter of the two, is above the Moon at nightfall. Castor is about the same distance to the upper left of Pollux.

January 16: Double Duty

Deneb, one of the brighter stars of summer, appears in both early evening and early morning skies now. And from far-northern latitudes, it never sets. Deneb, at the tail of the swan, forms one point of the Summer Triangle, which soars high overhead during summer.

January 15: Kepler 90

Kepler 90, in Draco, is the only known star other than our own with eight planets. Although the star is too faint to see without a telescope, you can see its location. It is low in the northwest at nightfall, to the upper right of bright Vega.

January 14: The Leviathan

The beautiful spiral galaxy M51 spins into view in the northeast this evening, near the tip of the Big Dipper’s handle. It consists of two galaxies: a large one that’s interacting with a smaller one, with a “bridge” of stars and gas between them.

January 13: Moon and Aldebaran

Most of the lunar near side is in good view tonight, lit up by the Sun. The bright star Aldebaran, which represents the eye of the bull, is close by. They wheel high across the sky during the night and set in the wee hours of the morning.

January 12: Alnilam

The star at the center of Orion’s Belt, a short line of three stars that points up from the eastern horizon on January evenings, is Alnilam. It is the brightest of the belt stars, even though it is hundreds of light-years farther than the others.

January 11: Double Earths?

Teegarden’s Star is the only known star system with two Earth-like worlds in its habitable zone. The system is in Aries, the ram, which is high in the south tonight. The star is too faint to see, but its location is easy to spot tonight: It’s just above the Moon.