Astronomy

Draco

Draco

Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543). Photo © Scott Rosen. Draco, the Dragon, is a sprawling circumpolar constellation that wraps around the Little Dipper. The Dragon’s head is a small group of four stars...

Cool Night, Cozy Blankets, Hot Cocoa, &…

Cool Night, Cozy Blankets, Hot Cocoa, &…

Once upon a cool August evening, our family happened to be camping in a dark, open area near Jasper, Alberta, Canada, where we had an amazing view of the sky.One evening, something caught our dad’s...

The Horsehead Nebula

The Horsehead Nebula

Horsehead Nebula. Photo © Morris Yoder. If you’ve ever found the constellation Orion, there’s a good chance you looked right through this complex cloud of dust and gas without realizing it. The...

In Our Skies, May 2022: Lunar Eclipse

Meteor activity is divided quite unevenly between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, with the Northern Hemisphere getting a better view of nearly every meteor shower of the year. The Eta Aquarid...

Canes Venatici

Canes Venatici

Canes Venatici is a small constellation, consisting of only two stars. However, it is quite easy to find due to its location just south of the Big Dipper. Like many of the surrounding...

Ursa Major

Ursa Major

Ursa Major, the Great Bear, is a large constellation in the northern circumpolar region of the sky. Ursa Major is known best for the Big Dipper, which makes up the northeastern part of the...

Monoceros

Monoceros

Monoceros the Unicorn is one of the most overlooked winter constellations. This is probably because the constellation is sprawling and faint, without an eye-catching shape. Fortunately, Monoceros is...

In Our Skies, March 2022: Planetary Conjunctions

In Our Skies, March 2022: Planetary Conjunctions

Where I live in Virginia, March brings the signs of a new season. The days are slowly warming, and the evenings, which were quiet all winter, are now enlivened by the calls of spring peepers and...

The Big Dipper

The Big Dipper

Most people who can pick out at least two constellations in the night sky can point out the Big Dipper. As it turns out, the Big Dipper is not a constellation. It’s an asterism within the...

Our Lunar Adventure

Our Lunar Adventure

Lunar eclipse. Photo © Kevin Shank. It was November 16, 2021, and excitement was high for us siblings. Tonight was a lunar eclipse!It was cloudy, and we were a bit worried. But, it was windy, and we...

Nature Night

Nature Night

Weasel. Photo © Dreamstime.com. “Don't stay out longer than eight o'clock,” Mom reminded us as we headed out the door.This was the night of the Geminid meteor shower, and my brother and I were going...

Meteor Beauty

Meteor Beauty

“Did you hear of the Geminid meteor shower tonight?” I asked my family at the supper table.“Yes,” came the answer.“Well, I want to go watch it tomorrow morning. Does anybody want to go with me?”A...

Auriga

Auriga

IC 405, the Flaming Star Nebula, is an emission/reflection nebula in Auriga. While beautiful in photographs, it is quite faint and difficult to visually observe. Photo © Shaphan Shank. Auriga is not...

A Fiery Ball

A Fiery Ball

In August, Dad decided to take the family to Cherry Springs Park in Pennsylvania, which has the darkest night sky east of the Mississippi River. We ventured out with food, binoculars, tents, our...