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What's in the Sky Tonight?

Video Tours of the Night Sky
February 2017
January 2017


Put February 10 on your calendar!

On that night, three fantastic celestial events will coincide—full "Snow Moon", a lunar eclipse, and a passing comet. Here are the details:

Snow Moon. February's full moon is traditionally called the Snow Moon because the heaviest snows typically fall in February. The Moon will rise at 16:44 GMT on the evening of February 10.

Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. Later that night, at 22:34 GMT, you can see an eclipse of the Moon. A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon align in an almost straight line. The Earth blocks some of the Sun's light from directly reaching the Moon's surface. The eclipse will peak at 00.43 GMT on February 11, and end at 02:53 GMT.

New Year Comet. In the pre-dawn hours of February 11, Look high in the eastern sky for the fuzzy comet blaze through the sky. This is Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková, named for the astronomers who discovered it in 1948. It is also called the New Year Comet. It is a periodic comet, meaning it travels a consistent path around the sun, and can be seen from Earth every five and a quarter years. The comet has been visible to the naked eye since the new year, and it makes its closest approach to Earth on February 11, when it will be the brightest.

With a pair of binoculars, you will be able to see the shape of the comet and its greenish glow.

A mini telescope you can take anywhere

star gazing binocularsIf you love sky gazing, you have to have a pair of astronomy binoculars! Binoculars are a fantastic alternative to telescopes—inexpensive, lightweight, and portable. For city dwellers where there is a lot of light pollution, binoculars are essential if you want to see much of anything.

Binoculars enlarge and brighten the beauty and immensity of the night sky. You can see the detail of the moon's craters, the phases of Venus, the moons and stripes of Jupiter, the awesome jewels that dot the Milky Way, nebulae, star clusters, and comets when they're passing near.

Our favorite astonomy binoculars is the Celestron SkGiyMaster Giant 15x70 Binoculars. These are excellent as well:


A year-round, real-time sky map

planisphere star locator mapA planisphere is a rotating star chart that allows you to dial in the entire visible sky for any day and time of the year and with great precision. It has been called an analog star computer and was considered magical in ancient times.

Planispheres show the brightest stars, constellations, notable galaxies and nebulae, as well as the path of the Milky Way. The plane of the ecliptic is also shown, which reveals the pathway of the planets as they appear to move across the night sky.


Orion 04110 Star Target Planisphere
Designed for use within 30 degrees North and 50 degrees North latitudes regardless of calendar year - shows locations of 100 star clusters, nebulas and galaxies.
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Night Sky® Star Wheel
Cardboard star wheel chart with moveable dial displays the positions of the stars at any time of the day and on any day of the year; shows only the brightest stars, anywhere between north latitudes 30 and 50.
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Guide to the Stars Map
This 16-inch diameter plastic Guide to the Stars chart can be used anywhere in the world between latitudes 30 and 60 degrees North.
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Star and Planet Locator Map
A roadmap of the night sky and accompanying booklet shows the location of stars, planets and constellations in your night sky when you dial in the exact hour and date.
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Firefly Planisphere: Latitude 42 Degrees North
Sturdy construction, smooth wheel rotation, easy-to-read booklet and protective pocket
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