The planet Jupiter is always one of the brightest objects in the night sky. It’s brighter than any star, and is only outshone by the planet Venus and the Moon, and, very rarely, by Mars and Mercury. Jupiter reaches a position for optimum viewing in a telescope once every 13 months, roughly, and it makes its latest closest approach to Earth on November 3, 2023 at 5h Universal Time when the planet appears in southern Aries. A couple of months before and after this date, Jupiter is in perfect position for viewing with a small telescope, or even a pair of binoculars. You can’t miss it: the planet is by far the brightest object in the eastern sky as night gets underway in the northern hemisphere and nearly overhead in the southern hemisphere in October and November 2023. The visible face of Jupiter reveals so many interesting features in a small telescope that the planet is a favorite target for new and experienced stargazers [Read more…] about A Guide to Observing Jupiter in 2023Share This:
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As northern summer nights grow longer in August and September, the big constellation Cygnus lies nearly overhead before midnight and offers dozens of colorful nebulae and star clusters for visual observers and astrophotographers. The newly discovered Radcliffe Wave begins here. So does the dark and dusty Great Rift that splits the band of Milky Way in two. Cygnus also contains the brightest section of the northern Milky Way in the grand Cygnus Star Cloud, the most prominent star cloud north of the celestial equator. With a pair of low-power binoculars or with just your dark-adapted eyes, this billowing collection of millions of stars along an arm of our galaxy offers as beautiful a sight as any earthly work of art or nature [Read more…] about The Cygnus Star CloudShare This:
Many casual observers get hooked on amateur astronomy after a first look at Saturn through a telescope. More than a few have looked through my small refractor on a night of good seeing and asked of Saturn, “Is it real?”
Oh, it’s real, all right. And incredibly beautiful… the color, the proportions, the apparent 3D perspective of this grand icy world. It is arguably the finest sight accessible with a small telescope. The planet reaches opposition on August 27, 2023 and will remain bright and large in a telescope over the next few months. Here’s how to find it and see it in a small telescope.
The dim zodiacal constellation Libra harbors just a handful of dim deep-sky objects and no bright stars. But within its boundaries lies the Methuselah Star, an ancient relic of the early universe born from the ashes of the first stars that formed after the Big Bang. It’s likely the oldest object of any kind you will ever see, and it’s an easy target in a pair of binoculars or small telescope. [Read more…] about The Methuselah StarShare This:
A big star exploded as a supernova in the lovely face-on spiral M101 in Ursa Major this month. At a distance of 20 million light years, this is the closest supernova in five years and the first in this galaxy since 2011. The new supernova isn’t close enough to see with the unaided eye, alas, but it lies within reach of a 5” or larger telescope for visual observers (as of the end of May 2023) and it offers an easy target for imagers. [Read more…] about An Exploding Star in Messier 101Share This: