Sky Watching Guide

The Milky Way is visible at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in western Colorado.

These National Parks Are Hosting Astronomy Festivals in 2024

Get outside, ditch the light pollution and marvel at the cosmos on these protected public lands

The northern lights appear near Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada, on May 11, 2024.

Missed the Auroras in May? Here’s How to See Them Next Time

Three veteran aurora chasers and a NASA scientist share everything you need to know to check these dazzling displays off your bucket list

An illustration of our solar system's planets in a line. This week, six planets appeared to be in a line from Earth's perspective, but they did not acutally align in space.

Missed the 'Parade of Planets'? These Upcoming Alignments Will Likely Be Better, Anyway

Astronomers tempered expectations of the celestial event this week, pointing to others in the near future as more exciting opportunities for sky watchers

From Latourell, Oregon, the northern lights appear as ribbons of color in the night sky on May 11.

See 12 Breathtaking Images of the Northern Lights, Spotted in Shocking Places Over the Weekend

A period of unusually strong solar activity meant the colorful aurora borealis could be seen much farther south than normal

The Eta Aquarids appear to originate from a bright star in the constellation Aquarius.

How to Watch the Dazzling Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower, Bringing an Unusual 'Outburst' to Skies This Weekend

This year's spectacle will be more impressive than usual, as the Earth passes through a concentrated clump of 3,000-year-old comet debris

In an artist's rendering, a red giant star and white dwarf star circle each other. Material ejected from the red giant gathers and heats in the white dwarf, catalyzing a bright explosion.

A Rare Nova Explosion Will Soon Bring a 'New Star' to the Night Sky—How to Catch a Glimpse

In an event that occurs only once every 80 years, a distant remnant of a star will grow much brighter, briefly becoming visible to Earth

The Lyrids are slated to peak on April 21-22, though the moon will be nearly full, which could make the meteors more difficult to see.

How to Watch the Brilliant Lyrid Meteor Shower This Month

Fiery streaks will illuminate the night sky from April 15-29, with the spectacle's peak occurring from April 21-22

Phases of the 2017 total solar eclipse, captured from Farewell Bend State Recreation Area in Oregon.

Watch the Total Solar Eclipse From Your Home With These Live Streams Online

Not in the path of totality? See the moon blot out the sun, revealing its magnificent corona, from your computer or phone

Roughly every 71 years, the bright periodic comet 12P/Pons-Brooks passes by the sun and Earth. At its brightest, it can be seen with the naked eye in fairly dark skies.

You Can See a Rare, Bright Comet This Month. Will It Be Visible During the Solar Eclipse?

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is a frigid, volcanic ice ball that won’t pass near Earth again until 2095

The Whirlpool Galaxy (also known as M51), located 31 million light-years from Earth, is a particularly radiant object seen during the Messier marathon. This image was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope—skywatchers looking through a backyard telescope or binoculars would see the galaxy in far less detail.

What It Takes to Complete the Ultimate Skywatching Endurance Challenge

The "Messier marathon" prompts space hobbyists to spot 110 celestial objects in one night, and the best time to try it is in March

The last total solar eclipse visible from the United States took place on August 21, 2017.

How to Watch the Spectacular Total Solar Eclipse in April 2024

The moon will appear to completely block the sun's light across parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada on April 8—here's how to make the most of this rare celestial phenomenon

Depictions of catlike animals are visible on stones under a rotating, starry sky.

These 15 Photos Capture the Beauty of the Night Sky

Stars shine in these heavenly images from the Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest

Solar eclipse viewers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center on October 14, 2023

Nine Dazzling Celestial Events to Watch in 2024

Skywatchers can expect spectacular meteor showers, a comet soaring past Earth and a long-anticipated total solar eclipse

A Quadrantid meteor flies through the sky, as captured by NASA's All Sky cameras.

What to See in the Sky in January: Meteor Showers, Planets and Comets

From the Quadrantids to a "swarm of stars," here are the celestial spectacles you won’t want to miss this month

The consellation Orion and other stars in the sky in Alberta, Canada, in 2019.

An Asteroid Will Eclipse a Red Star in the Constellation Orion Monday Night

In the U.S., the rare event will only be visible from southern Florida, but it will be livestreamed from Italy for viewers everywhere

The Geminids appear to originate from the Gemini constellation, but you can see them throughout the night sky.

How to Watch the Geminid Meteor Shower This Week

The celestial spectacle will peak on December 13 and 14, lighting up the night sky with as many as 120 shooting stars per hour

The northern lights cast an eerie glow upon an abandoned, wrecked airplane.

These 15 Photos Capture the Beauty of the Northern Lights

Spiking solar activity could mean more chances to see the awesome aurora borealis

The Leonids appear to originate from the constellation Leo, but you can see them throughout the night sky.

How to Watch the Dazzling Leonid Meteor Shower This Weekend

The celestial spectacle has been ongoing since the beginning of the month, but it will peak Friday night into early Saturday morning

The James Webb Space Telescope's first image of Saturn.

Saturn's Rings Will Temporarily Disappear From View in 2025

From Earth’s perspective, we’ll be looking at the gas giant’s rings edge-on, making them nearly impossible to see

Shooting stars travel across the sky during the Draconid meteor shower.

How to Watch the Draconid Meteor Shower This Weekend

Though it’s usually a smaller display, the Draconids have historically produced breathtaking outbursts of shooting stars known as "meteor storms"

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