Constellations

On a Starry Night in December

On a Starry Night in December

“Papa! May Joshua, Michaela, and I sleep outside on Tuesday night to watch the Geminid meteor shower?” I questioned eagerly, looking up from the November issue of Nature Friend where I had just...

Many, Many Meteors

Many, Many Meteors

My brother and I stepped excitedly out of the darkened house into the exhilarating night air. The sky showed no sign of dawn, but in the west an impending cloud threatened to destroy our chance to...

Cetus

Cetus

NGC 253. Photo © CC by 3.0. The southern sky is nearly devoid of bright stars on evenings in late autumn and early winter. Cetus, the Whale, is a relatively large constellation that lies in the...

Pegasus

Pegasus

M15. Photo © Hubble and NASA. Pegasus is one of the most familiar autumn constellations. The most prominent part of the constellation is a large square of stars (~15° across) known as the Great...

Stargazing Adventure

Stargazing Adventure

Beehive Cluster, M44. Photo © CC-SA-4.0. It was a cold, clear 32° F (0° C) Sunday night as my dad and I left our cozy house, bundled in warm winter clothes. Shivering, we walked out to our...

Aquarius

Aquarius

Helix Nebula, NGC 7293. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Aquarius is a sprawling constellation that stretches across nearly 40° of the southern sky on autumn evenings. This constellation lies south of the...

Aquila

Aquila

Barnard's E. Photo © CC by SA-3.0 Aquila, the Eagle, is a mid-sized constellation that lies right along the summer Milky Way.The brightest star in Aquila is Altair. Two somewhat dimmer stars lie on...

Lyra

Lyra

Ring Nebula. Photo © NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScl/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration. Lyra, the Harp, is a small constellation that lies almost straight overhead on August evenings in the...

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...

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...

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...

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...