By Dave Fuller on 9/8/2015 8:08 PM

Check out the slim crescent Moon as it first appears above, then in between, the planets of Mars and Venus in the eastern morning sky. This video shows when and how to see the planets and Moon together. 

For more on what you can see, check out the blog's past posts, or the home page for the most recent video(s). There's also info on basic stargazing and how to understand telescopes

By Dave Fuller on 9/8/2015 7:55 PM

Composed of three stars, in three different constellations, the Summer Triangle is really just a convenient way to look for Cygnus, Lyra and Aquila in the summer sky. How to find it at this time of year? Easy? Check out this quick 30 seconds long video:

For more on what you can see, check out the blog's past posts, or the home page for the most recent video(s). There's also info on basic stargazing and how to understand telescopes

By Dave Fuller on 9/3/2015 8:12 PM
Today, I saw this question on the astronomy sub-reddit:

If the Earth is moving at 30 km/s around the Sun, and the Sun is orbiting the center of our galaxy at about 200-250 km/s, and our galaxy is moving relatively to the Local Group where it orbits, and the local group moves around the Virgo Cluster - How do the stars stay so consistent in the sky?

I don't particularly think I'm all that smart when it comes to astronomy. I mean, I know how to find things in the sky. I understand what they are, in a very general sense. I know a lot about telescopes, and a fair amount about how they work. And I understand cosmic scale, which is towards the edge of my understanding. 

So when I see someone struggling with a question, I will do my best to respond to it in a way that I'd like to see it answered - that is, give me something I can relate to in the response. It's the only way I'll grasp the concept fully. 

So here was my answer to the question (lightly edited for clarity):

The mountain...
By Dave Fuller on 9/2/2015 8:43 PM

I point Saturn out to them with a green laser, or say, "It's just to the right of that bright star," and their surprised reactions like, "Really? That's it, right there?" tell me that they didn't know it was so easily seen. I mean, it's a naked eye object, and has been for as long as humans have looked up at the sky.

How to find Saturn, September 2015

So try something: Share this graphic. Let people know how easily they can see Saturn right now, this week. Let's see how many people we can educate about some of the simpler-to-see celestial sights. 

By Dave Fuller on 9/2/2015 10:28 AM
Have you seen a "new star" in the eastern, morning sky just before sunrise? What IS that bright thing anyway? Of course, it's not actually a star, it's the planet Venus! The 2nd planet from the Sun switched from the evening sky over into the morning sky. But check out what is also nearby - the planet Mars. Neither will look like much in a telescope now - well, you can probably see a significant sickle-shape "phase" with enough magnification on Venus, but not much detail on either one. 

Venus and Mars in morning sky, Sept 2015

That doesn't mean they aren't worth taking a look at, given that one is inside our orbit (Venus), and the other outside of it (Mars). So you could say that Venus and Mars are the "bread" to an Earth sandwich. (Or not!) Okay, so maybe it's just more fun to think about the fact that we can see the next inner and outer planets right near each other in the sky.

By Dave Fuller on 9/1/2015 12:40 PM

Neptune just reached opposition with Earth, and the oft-overlooked 8th planet has some interesting stats. Plus, it is not hard to find in the night sky with binoculars (see video below in this blog post).

Neptune by the numbers

This video shows exactly how to find Neptune in the night sky through the month of September. 

The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.