Surface Features of the Sun
The Sun is a very busy place with several different phenomena appearing on its hot, roiling surface layers. We investigate what they are and how they arise.
How to Find and Observe M4
The unique globular cluster M4 in Scorpius is a delight of the summer sky. Learn to easily locate and observe this object yourself using our guide.
How to Find and Observe M13 – The Great Hercules Cluster
The globular cluster M13 is one of the most beguiling objects you can view through a telescope. Our guide shows you how to find and observe this swarm of tightly-packed stars.
How to Find and Observe the Open Cluster M46
The open cluster M46 is one of the most beautiful Messier objects in the night sky. Our simple guide shows you how to find and observe it yourself.
How to Find and Observe The Wild Duck Cluster (M11)
M11 is a beautiful cluster of several hundred stars that's visible in smaller scopes. Discover how to enjoy this diamond-like view for yourself.
What Can You Expect to See in a Telescope?
Several factors affect what you can see in a telescope. Our huge guide breaks down exactly what you should expect for each telescope size.
What are the Biggest Stars?
UY Scuti and Stephenson 1-28 are only two of many large stars. Read more to find out about other largest stars!
What are the Dimmest Stars?
42 stars dimmer than the Sun are waiting to be observed. Read more to find out where they are and how to spot them.
Pegasus Constellation Guide – Midnight’s Winged Horse
Famed for its Great Square, the winged horse constellation of Pegasus is a treasure trove for your telescope to enjoy. Let us show you how.
How To Look At The Sun Safely
We know it's dangerous to look at the Sun directly but, there are safe ways to observe its rich surface details. We look at the options.
Taurus Constellation Guide – A Horned Bull In The Night Sky
Taurus is a large and bright constellation. Lots of bright double stars and clusters make this a region of the sky you should know well.
The Moon’s Orbit, Distance, and Day Length
A day on the moon has two answers! Find out what they are and why the moon has two kinds of days.
What is the Moon Made of?
The Moon's past is intertwined with Earth's. What is it made of, and how do we know so much about it?
How to Find and Observe The Pleiades
The Pleiades is one of the most beautiful sights in the night sky. Astronomers can spend hours observing its beauty and we show you how.
How Did the Lunar Maria Form?
Lunar maria tell a lot about the Moon's history. Find out how they were formed, and which are the main ones.
What are the Brightest Stars in the Night Sky?
Sirius is the brightest and most popular star. Read more to find out other brightest stars and how you can locate them!
How Big is the Moon?
The moon is the fifth-largest in the solar system. Find out its size, its weight, and how you can travel around it.
What Is An Analemma?
Analemma are made by superimposing several images of the Sun taken at the same time of day over the course of a year. But why a figure 8?
Where Does The Sun Rise and How High Does It Get?
Did you learn that the Sun rises in the east? Well, that's true... for just two days of the year! Find out what happens for the other 363.
How Big Is The Sun?
The Sun is truly ginormous, but how huge is it in everyday terms? See how long a plane, car, and bike would take to complete one lap.
How Old Is The Sun And When Will It Die?
The Sun is older that we can imagine, but it's only halfway done. However, it's going to make Earth uninhabitable much sooner, find out why.
How Far Away Is The Sun From Earth?
The Sun is over 90 million miles away, but how long does it take to get there? And how do you measure its year? Find out all that and more.
What Is The Sun Made Of, and How Hot Is It?
The beating heart of our solar system is a star we call the Sun. How hot is this ball of plasma that warms our planet and what is it made of?
Can I See Pluto and Other Dwarf Planets With a Telescope?
Pluto is an enigmatic world, hunkered at the farthest reaches of the solar system. Find out how you can see it with a telescope tonight.
What is Neptune Made Of, and is it the Windiest Planet in the Solar System?
Neptune is the most distant planet from the Sun, but what is it made of that makes it blue? And is it really the windiest planet?
Orion Constellation – The Hunter in the Night Sky
Orion is one of the most-recognizable constellations. It is full of bright stars and DSOs, making it a true marvel for astronomers to explore.
How to See Mercury Through A Telescope
Mercury is an illusive planet to find for astronomers because it's so close to the sun. In our easy guide, we'll help you discover it for yourself.
How to See Jupiter Through a Telescope
Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system and, with a wealth of dynamic features, is a 'must see', even in smaller telescopes.
Lunar Eclipses in 2021
There are two great eclipses of the Moon in 2021. One is a total lunar eclipse, the other is 97% of total. Find out when to see them.
Solar Eclipses in 2021
Solar eclipses are one of the most spectacular sights of the solar system. There are two in 2021, find out when and where to see them.
How to See Venus Through a Telescope
Venus is our sister planet and the brightest object in the night sky after the moon. Use our easy guide to discover it with your own telescope.
How to See Saturn Through A Telescope
Saturn is one of the most astonishing telescope views we astronomers get to enjoy. Follow our simple guide to discover the joys for yourself.
The Best Meteor Showers of 2021
This year holds at least eleven exciting meteor showers for us to observe. Discover what they are, when to see them and the moon's impact on seeing them.
How to See Mars Through a Telescope – Updated for 2021
The red planet Mars is an iconic target for backyard astronomers. Our simple guide will help you find and observe its best features with your telescope.
How to See Uranus Through a Telescope in 2021
Uranus is one of the harder planets for amateur astronomers to find, but it is definitely possible. Use our simple guide to learn where & when to look.
The Planet Neptune: Everything You Need to Know
Neptune is an enthralling planet tucked away in the farthest reaches of our solar system. Dig into the mysteries of this blue ice giant.
How to See Neptune Through a Telescope in 2021
Neptune is the hardest planet for amateur astronomers to find because it's not visible with the naked eye. Use our simple guide to see it with your scope.
What Planets are Visible Tonight? The Indispensable Astronomer’s Guide to Finding and Seeing the Planets in 2021
We all look up after dark and wonder if we can see Venus, Mars or Jupiter. Our updated guide for 2021 gives all the details you need to find the planets.
What are the Differences Between Uranus and Neptune?
Uranus and Neptune are well known for being similar in ice giants on the edge of the solar system. But, what are their differences?
How Far Away is Neptune from the Sun and the Earth?
Neptune is the most distant planet in the solar system. But how far away as it? And how quickly could we get there?
How Far Away is Uranus From the Sun and Earth?
Uranus is at the farthest reaches of our solar system, but exactly how far is from the Sun and our planet? And how long does a day last there?
What is Uranus Made of, and is it the Coldest Planet in the Solar System?
Uranus is an intriguing planet of icy seas, a cold core, and an intriguing number of strange statistics. Find out if its the coldest planet?
The Planet Uranus: Everything You Need to Know
Uranus is a world of unexpected discovery. It lays on its side, has many moons, and also has rings. Find out what else you need to know.
Why is Mercury Difficult for Astronomers to See?
Mercury is so close to the Sun that we can only view it during dawn and dusk. Find out the specific times of year it reaches its highest.
How Hot is Mercury, and Does it Have an Atmosphere?
Tiny planet Mercury is the closest to the Sun, but isn't the hottest planet. In fact, there's good reason to believe ice is on its surface!
How Far Away is Mercury from the Sun and Earth?
We know Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, but how far is it from Earth? And, if we traveled there, how long would it take to arrive?
Ursa Major Constellation – The Great Bear of the Night Sky
Ursa Major is a large constellation is famous for the Big Dipper asterism, which is one of the most recognizable sights in the night sky.
Ursa Minor Constellation – The Night Sky’s Little Bear
Famed for being home to Polaris, the Pole Star, the Little Bear is also home to the Little Dipper asterism and some handy double stars.
What is Planet Mercury Made of, and How Big is it?
You probably already know that Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, but how big is it compared to our Moon... and what is it made of?
Titan: Saturn’s Largest Moon – Everything You Need to Know
Titan is a behemoth among the solar system's moons. Bigger than Mercury and second only to Ganymede, this is what you need to know.
What is the Hexagon of Saturn?
The Hexagon of Saturn is an enigma. An almost perfect hexagon shape of vast proportions in the upper atmosphere. But what so we know?
How Big Is Saturn, And Can It Really Float In The Bath?
Saturn is a vast planet, it dwarves Earth's measurements in every way. Yet... is it really possible it could float in a bath of water?
How Far Away Is Saturn? And, How Long Does It Take To Get There?
Saturn is a long way away... but just how far is that? And, if we were a beam of light, how quickly could we get there?
Perseus Constellation – A Hero For Our Skies
Perseus, the 'hero' constellation, has many treasures to offer backyard astronomers, from bright stars to open cluster and bright nebulae.
What is Saturn Made of?
Saturn is the second-largest planet in the solar system, yet is less dense than water. Discover how that's possible.
What is the Temperature on Saturn? And, Does it Have Seasons?
Despite its calm appearance, Saturn is a seething mass of different layers of atmosphere. Discover how cold (or warm) they are.
How to See Saturn’s Rings With a Telescope
You want to see the rings of Saturn with your telescope, but what should you look for, and when are the best views? This article explains all.
The Rings of Saturn – All You Ever Needed to Know!
When you look at the mesmerising rings of Saturn, it's common to ask why, what and how. We have all the answers for you!
Is There Life on Mars?
Finding life on Mars has been a fascination of mankind for centuries. Find out what we've discovered so far and what comes next.
What Causes Dust Storms on Mars?
Smaller Martian dust storms are common but hard to see. Global dust storms happen rarely but cover the whole planet. Here's how to see them.
The Major Surface Features of Mars
From the polar ice caps to Vastitas Borealis, we show you how to see the major surface features on Mars with a telescope.
Cepheus Constellation – King of the Night Sky
Cepheus constellation is visible all year round in the northern hemisphere. Discover the sights visible in this royal constellation.
How Big is Mars Compared to Earth and Venus?
Planet Mars is often thought of as Earth's twin, but it's quite a bit smaller than you realize. Check out how small it really is.
How Long Does Mars Take to Go Around the Sun?
Our red neighbor is further away from the sun than we are, which means it takes longer to orbit. See what else is different about Mars.
Why Is Mars Red and What Is It Made Of?
Mars's red color is so enigmatic that it might be the best-known fact of the solar system. But do you know why it's red? Time to find out!
How Many Moons Does Mars Have, And Can I See Them With A Telescope?
Mars has two moons, Phonos and Deimos, that can be seen with a telescope under ideal conditions. We show you how to do it!
Lyra Constellation – The Night Sky’s Harp
Lyra may be a small constellation, but it packs a big punch with the bright star Vega and the Ring Nebula. Discover what else it hides.
How Far Away Is Mars?
The enigmatic red planet moves closer and further from us on a 2-year cycle. Discover when it is closest and how long it takes to get there.
Mars’ Atmosphere – A Guide for Backyard Astronomers
Mars once had a thick atmosphere but today it is almost barren of any gas on its surface. Find out why it disappeared and what's left.
How Far Away is Jupiter?
Jupiter is one of the brightest planets in the night sky but it is a long way away. Find out just how far, and how long it would take to get there.
How Long Does It Take Jupiter To Go Around The Sun?
Jupiter is a vast planet and orbits at a leisurely pace around the sun. However, even though it is ginormous, it has the shortest day in the solar system!
Is Jupiter A Failed Star? How Close Is The Giant Planet To Being A Second Sun In Our Solar System?
Jupiter is a huge planet, weighing twice as much as all the other planets combined. Yet, it isn't a star. So how close is Jupiter to igniting, let's find out.
How Big is Jupiter? And How Much Bigger than Earth is it?
It's hard to appreciate what a vast planet Jupiter is. We looked at how long it would take us to drive or fly around it to fully understand its size.
How to See Jupiter’s Great Red Spot With a Telescope in Your Own Backyard
Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a storm 3 times the size of Earth, but it's tricky to see it. We show you how to observe the Great Red Spot with your telescope.
Jupiter’s Atmosphere – A Guide for Backyard Astronomers
Jupiter is famed for the dark and light bands that cross it. These beautiful views mask the truth of Jupiter's Atmosphere and its extreme conditions.
Cygnus Constellation Guide – The Graceful, Night-Sky Swan
Flying high overhead on a summer's evening, Cygnus constellation is the perfect stalking ground for bright double stars and some lovely deep sky objects.
Jupiter’s Moons – A Usable Guide for Backyard Astronomers
Jupiter is the biggest planet and has over 70 moons orbiting it. Four of those, the Galilean moons, are big enough for us to see at night, find out how.
Hercules Constellation Guide – The Night Sky’s Strongman
Hercules contains many exciting double stars to separate on a summer's evening with your telescope. See the complete list and discover two star clusters!
Why Is Venus The Hottest Planet In The Solar System?
It's true, Venus reflects 97% of the sunlight hitting it, so why is it the hottest planet in the solar system? Oddly, it is due to those reflective clouds!
Is Venus a Rocky Planet or a Gas Giant?
Venus has many similarities to Earth and many differences from a gas giant. Find out all about Venusian geology and what makes Venus a terrestrial planet.
Boötes Constellation Guide – The Night Sky Herdsman
Boötes constellation is the home of Arcturus and many double stars fit for small telescopes. In our astronomer's guide, you'll discover the best sights!
How Long Does Venus Take to Go Around the Sun?
We'll answer that question and surprise you by revealing how long a day is on Venus. As a hint, it is longer than a year!
What is the Ecliptic in Astronomy? A Guide to the Planetary Highway
The ecliptic is one of the imaginary lines astronomers use to navigate the night sky. It shows us where the planets are, and we show you how to find it.
Virgo Constellation – The Night Sky’s Virgin
Virgo constellation is best viewed in early June evenings. Famed for its bright star Spica, the best views are its many galaxies. Discover them all.
How Far Away is Venus?
The next planet to us in the solar system, but how close is Venus to Earth? Discover the answer and how long it takes to travel there too.
Leo Constellation – A Lion in the Stars
The constellation of Leo is easy to find in spring and summer evenings. It is rich in galaxies and our astronomer's guide shows you where to find them.
Cancer Constellation, the Astronomer’s Guide to the Crab in the Sky
The constellation of Cancer is visible in northern evening skies for the first half of the year, peaking in March. Discover how to see its best features.
How to Read a Star Chart
Star maps are an essential tool for backyard astronomers to find their way around the heavens. Our simple guide cuts through star chart confusion.
Solar and Lunar Eclipses in 2020
Discover all of the solar and lunar eclipses which will happen in 2020, including when and where to see them.
Telescope Filters Guide – Astronomy Filters Explained for the Amateur Astronomer
Telescope filters are a relatively inexpensive way to get better views from your existing telescope. Here's our quick guide to get you started!
How Many of Saturn’s Moons Can I See Through a Telescope?
When you've seen Saturn's rings, her moons are the next feature to hunt for. She's got 62 all together, but do you know how many you can see through a 6" telescope?
How Long Does it Take to Get Dark After Sunset?
One of the most common questions new astronomers ask is 'how long will it take to get dark after sunset?' This short article sets out a comprehensive answer, and it has more to do with where you live than you might think...
Telescope Zoom Eyepieces – What Are They & Should You Use One?
Telescope zoom eyepieces can bring great advantages for the backyard astronomer, but there are compromises to be made. Find out all the pros and cons.
Cassiopeia Constellation – A Goddess in the Night Sky
Cassiopeia is one of the night sky's most recognizable views. It's also above the horizon all night, making it perfect for improving your astronomy skills.
Celestial Coordinates – The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide
Understanding and using celestial coordinates can feel daunting. In this simple guide to everything associated Right Ascension and Declination, you'll learn to use it with ease!
How Many Stars Can I See at Night?
Even though there are 100's of billions of stars in the Milky Way, we can only see a few thousand from Earth. Find out how many...
Zodiacal Light – How to See a False Dawn (or Dusk)
Zodiacal light is a large but delicate phenomenon that we get chance to spot just twice a year. In this article, we show you how.
What is a Field of View in Astronomy and Why is it Useful?
Your field of view can make a dramatic difference to the quality of your backyard astronomy. In this article we give you a guide on why knowing your field of view is important and how to work it out.
Light Pollution – A Comprehensive Guide for the Backyard Astronomer
Have you put off buying a telescope because light pollution means you can’t see the stars from your backyard?You don’t[...]
What is Magnitude in Astronomy? Absolute, Apparent and Stellar Magnitude Explained for the Backyard Astronomer.
Magnitude is the way we describe how bright a stellar object is. However, it's not as simple as it could be to understand, so use this guide to navigate the quirks of this vital astronomy measurement.
What Color are Stars? The Astronomer’s Guide to Seeing a Stellar Rainbow
Have you noticed that Betelgeuse is the only reddish star in Orion constellation? Maybe you’ve noticed other stars that shine[...]
How to Set Up Sky Safari 5
Sky Safari 5 is a 'must have' piece of software for backyard astronomers, but using it can feel daunting if you are new to it. The 10 short videos in this article walk you through every setting you need to get up and running.
The Virgo Galaxy Cluster – A Complete Guide for the Backyard Astronomer
The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies is a small path of sky rich in relatively bright galaxies. This cluster provides many nights' of great observing, and we show you how to get the best of it from your own backyard.
12 Best Deep Space Objects for Backyard Astronomers – Part Two
Deep space objects (DSOs) are the holy grail for many backyard astronomers. Yet, they can be hard to find, especially compared to planets. In this second part of our 2-part guide, we share the best DSOs for the beginner in fall and winter.
12 Best Deep Space Objects for Backyard Astronomers – Part One
Deep space objects (DSOs) are the holy grail for many backyard astronomers. Yet, they can be hard to find, especially compared to planets. In this 2-part guide, we share the best DSOs for the beginner by season.
Messier Marathon: What is it and How Do I Plan One?
There are only a few locations and a few nights of the year when it's possible to see all 110 Messier objects in one night. This thorough article gives you everything you need to achieve success in your hunt!
Using Astronomy Laser Pointers to Improve Your Stargazing
Green laser pointers are a simple, cheap and effective tool for improving your enjoyment of the night sky. Yet, they can also be dangerous. Find out how to use them safely for maximum stargazing enjoyment.
What is a Barlow Lens? And Why Every Astronomer Needs One
Barlow lenses are a simple way to double or treble the magnification of your existing eyepiece collection. Put simply, if you want to cost effectively double the eyepieces in your collection, then you have to buy a Barlow lens.
Northern Hemisphere Circumpolar Constellations, A Complete Guide for the Backyard Astronomer
There are five circumpolar constellations visible across the USA. They are the best way of finding your way around the night sky and you can learn all about them and how to use them in this simple guide.
How Do Telescopes Work?
Forget what you've been told, magnification is NOT how telescopes work! Just one thing defines how well a telescope works... and it's revealed here.
12 Messier Objects you’ll Wish you’d Found Sooner!
Messier objects are some of the best sights in the night sky, these 12 will keep you going all year long.
Telescope Eyepieces: All you Need to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask!
Eyepieces are responsible for getting the best out of the image your scope collects, this article explains how they work, which are the best ones and how to pick the right magnification for you.
Astronomy Magazine vs. Sky & Telescope Magazine
These two are the biggest magazines in Astronomy - I pit them against each other to discover which one is the best for backyard astronomers.