A Guide to the Sky, Telescopes, and Telescope Programs
What is up Tonight?
(In the event that this page is not up-to-date, skip to the links below for external resources).
Almost everything is "up" tonight, if you're willing to observe from dusk to dawn. We'll list things here that are visible after Sunset and rise within a couple hours afterward.
Note that the Moon is different every night, rising about 50 minutes later (and lying about 15 degrees further east every day). Why does it change?
What's up for Winter 2013?
The summer Milky Way is great to browse through with binoculars or a small scope. If you're in a dark, clear sky, that cloudy swath of grey is the Milky Way. Right now, mid-December, the Summer Triangle is in the west twilight at sunset, the Milky Way runs right through it, north-south.
Venus is that really bright "star" in the Southwest at sunset. Swing a scope at it and see a nice crescent. It will be passing in front of the sun soon, so it will set earlier and earlier until it enters its "Morning Star" phase.
Jupiter is that really bright "star" that rises in the east a bit after sunset. "Rising near sunset" means that it's close to opposition, meaning that we're about as close to it as we get. Which means more surface detail is visible (cloud bands and storms). Even binoculars will show a band or two, as well as the four Galilean moons (which change position nightly).
The sun is up every day and visible from even the brightest, dirtiest sky. Click here for more info on solar observing
Where are you?
The whole sky is up at all times. Everything in it is up everyday. So why can't you see it all at any time? The sun washes out the sky during the day and, of course, the earth gets in the way. The Earth does block out the Sun so that we can see the stars, but it does also block out how far to the south we can see. The closer you get to the equator on earth, the less of the sky is permanently blocked out. From San Diego at 32 degrees North Latitude, we cannot see the sky closer than 32 degrees to the south celestial pole.
Some links to good targets tonight or this week:
Whole sky map of tonight’s sky with interesting targets at SkyMaps.com (scroll down to the Current Month to download a map)
Week’s Sky at a Glance (overview of highlights)
Sky (useful and thorough, but text-based.
Requires some knowledge)
Questions or comments? Email:Jeff Martin