SPRING BEGINS at 4:58PM EDT on March 20. This is the moment of the vernal equinox, when the Sun is centered on the celestial equator, where traditionally day and night are balanced. Some know-it-all types like to mention “equilux” instead of “equinox.” This is some newfangled pedantry that presumes to correct the traditional definition of “12 equal hours of day… Continue reading


WINTER SOLSTICE: Winter begins for the northern hemisphere on December 21 at 22:23 UT (5:23 PM EST). This is the precise moment when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of the year. For this reason, December 21 is the shortest day of the year. As seen from the northern hemisphere, the noon Sun is lowest in the sky of… Continue reading


Mars has had a great year! After reaching blazing brilliance this summer, the Red Planet has still been a conspicuous object through the fall, hanging high at the meridian after sunset. The waxing crescent Moon will pass close to Mars in conjunction on Friday evening, December 14. This pair will be close the “circlet” asterism in Pisces and the “water… Continue reading


GEMINID METEORS — THIS WEEK!!! The Geminid meteor shower runs from December 6-19, and peaks this Thursday night, December 13/14. But the Geminids are one of the most active showers of the year, and in recent years, have been more active than the more-famous Perseids in August. You can see the meteors in any part of the sky, but they… Continue reading


DAYLIGHT SAVINGS: It’s that time again! This Sunday, we all get back that extra hour of sleep that we lost back in the spring. At 2:00 AM Sunday morning, the clocks “fall back” an hour. Daylight Savings Time (DST) ends and we revert back to standard time. Enjoy that extra hour! But the evening darkness will now arrive early, which… Continue reading


ORION RETURNS! Everyone’s favorite constellation is Orion the Hunter. Orion cuts a dramatic figure in the heavens, easily spotted by the three stars of Orion’s Belt, frozen in his timeless celestial battle with Taurus the Bull. Though best seen in the cold months, Orion is invisible during the summer, between the months of May through July, hidden behind the bright… Continue reading

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