Planets

In Our Skies, May 2024

In Our Skies, May 2024

View the full issue in the Magazine Archive May 3: Saturn is .8° N of the moon.May 5: Mars is .2° S of the moon.May 9: Mercury is highest in the early morning sky due to its greatest western...

In Our Skies, March 2024

In Our Skies, March 2024

View the full issue in the Magazine Archive March 14 Pleiades is very close to the moon—less than 2 degrees.March 24 Mercury is at its greatest eastern elongation from the Sun. Look for it low in...

In Our Skies, January 2024

In Our Skies, January 2024

View the January 2024 Nature Friend Magazine January starts off with a bang. The Quadrantid meteor shower, often considered one of the best showers of the year, peaks the night of 3/4. The best...

Deep Sky Surprises

Deep Sky Surprises

M78. Photo © Dogwood Ridge. Anxiously I scanned the sky as I stepped outside the door. Supper was over, and I was headed to the barn to do some chores. Darkness was falling across the valley, and...

In Our Skies, November 2023: Meteor Showers

In Our Skies, November 2023: Meteor Showers

As Earth orbits the Sun, it passes between the Sun and the outer planets. Each time Earth passes between the Sun and another planet, that planet is said to be at opposition. This is because, from...

In Our Skies, July 2023: Perseid Meteor Shower

In Our Skies, July 2023: Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid meteor shower is the most popular meteor shower of the year. This is partly because it always peaks during the warm nights of summer, and partly because it is the second-strongest shower...

In Our Skies, May 2023: Eta Aquarids

In Our Skies, May 2023: Eta Aquarids

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower will peak on the night of May 5–6. Unfortunately, that’s also the night of Full Moon, so any faint meteors will be washed out by moonlight. On a year without moonlight...

Stargazing Chills

Stargazing Chills

Bubble Nebula and open star cluster M52. Photo © Shaphan Shank. Oh, no, I thought as I stepped out the door. Supper was over and darkness was falling. An hour or two earlier it had been snowing...

Backyard Stargazing

Backyard Stargazing

Andromeda Galaxy. Photo © Shaphan Shank. “Good night, Dad and Mom,” I said as I strode to the door, clad in a winter coat, hat, and boots.“Good night,” they replied—Mom with a sigh, glad she wasn’t...

In Our Skies, November 2023: Meteor Showers

In Our Skies, November 2023: Meteor Showers

The second total lunar eclipse of 2022 will take place on the night of November 7–8. The eclipse will be most visible from eastern Asia, Oceania, and western and central North America. The eclipse...

In Our Skies, September 2023: Planet Oppositions

In Our Skies, September 2023: Planet Oppositions

About once a year, Earth passes between the Sun and Neptune. This event is called an opposition because Neptune is on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, rising around sunset and setting around...

In Our Skies, July 2022: Planets

In Our Skies, July 2022: Planets

Moon. Photo © Shaphan Shank. This month, nearly all the bright planets are strung across the early morning sky. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all easy to find, thanks to their brilliance....