Jupiter & The Beehive

For the next couple of months, the magnificent planet Jupiter visits the Beehive star cluster in Cancer. The former is obviously visible to the unaided eye under even the worst light pollution—and the cluster can be glimpsed naked-eye given a dark moonless night. In either case, both are a lovely sight in binoculars.
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Binocular Spectacular – Part II

In last month’s installment, we highlighted a striking “near miss” (or conjunction) of the two innermost planets of our Solar System—Venus and Mercury. This month, on the early evening of February 20th, an amazing triple conjunction will occur. And again, although it will be visible to the unaided eye as was last month’s event, the view in binoculars will be nothing short of spectacular!
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Binocular Spectacular – Part I

A fascinating celestial event sure to thrill sky-watchers will happen on the early evening of January 10th when the two innermost planets of our Solar System will have an apparent “near miss” in the sky! And while this can be witnessed with the unaided eye, it will be a superb sight in binoculars of all sizes and types. So dust off those glasses should you have a pair and hope for a clear night.
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An Evening Meteor Shower

Regular readers of this column know that whenever we’ve covered the various annual meteor showers, it seems that they always reach peak activity in the pre-dawn hours of the morning—and that relatively few “shooting stars” are seen during evening hours. (The reasons for this are discussed below.) But this month we have the very “considerate” Geminids which display lots of evening action, to the delight of those skywatchers who must get to bed at a reasonable hour!
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The Andromeda Galaxy Sails On High!

One obvious galaxy that surely everyone has seen (especially in the summer and fall months when its big billowy star-clouds pass overhead) is the one we live in—the magnificent Milky Way! But there’s another equally famous one that is perfectly placed for viewing on November evenings and which can be seen even without optical aid on a dark moonless night. It’s the great Spiral Galaxy of Andromeda.

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Two Eclipses in One Month!!

Wow! What a month for celestial spectaculars—a total eclipse of the Moon (for those who were clouded out at the one in April) and a partial eclipse of the Sun just two weeks later! Both will be readily visible to the unaided eye and thrilling sights in binoculars and small telescopes (given proper safety precautions in the case of the Sun).
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Losing the Stars

We’re all aware of the negative impact human activity is having on our planet’s land masses, oceans and atmosphere. But it goes beyond far that to the very night sky above us. And sadly, only sky-watchers seem aware of this increasing menace which is destroying the beauty of a star-filled sky for those living in or anywhere near large metropolitan areas.
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Two Great Starry Luminaries

Skywatchers this month have an ideal opportunity to see the two brightest of all the stars of the northern heavens at the same time. Not only are they brilliant and unmistakable—but they also display a truly striking color contrast between them sure to surprise anyone who thinks that stars are all just plain white!
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