Looking for the “Monthly Skies”?

If you’ve been reading my monthly column here for the last year, or for the last several years on the Denver Astronomical Society’s site, you might have noticed that I’ve taken a break…

Don’t worry–while the planets move across the sky from week to week, the stars keep more or less the same positions from each other year after year (you’d need some expensive astronomical instruments to tell the difference). That means that if you’re looking for good targets in August (or September, or October…), you can hit the Astronomical Society’s archived pages.

You’ll find four years of columns, from 2015 to 2019, so there will be four “Augusts” for you to peruse (and of course, four Septembers, and so on…). There’s enough material there for a book. (As it happens, I’m working on that right now!)

The archived PDF files from 2015 to the end of 2018 are linked HERE.

More recent, WordPress-based articles, from January 2019 to May 2019, are HERE. (I recently edited noted astronomy writer Jeff Kanipe’s article on observing in the Southern Hemisphere, “Five Nights in the Magellanic Clouds,” and you’ll find that there, too!)

March Skies 2019

by Zachary Singer

In March, we have a relatively quiet month for planets: Most of them are now early-morning objects, but they are at a greater angle from the Sun, allowing better observing. In the “Stars and Deep Sky” section, we’ll look at two stars in the constellation Cancer—the first is a wonderful binary, and the other, a lesser-known carbon star.

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February Skies 2019

by Zachary Singer

Some of our favorite planetary targets, Venus and Jupiter, are up in the pre-dawn sky this month, and Mercury appears in the evening, as we’ll see in “The Solar System,” below. In “Stars and Deep Sky,” we’ll take a look at two notable open clusters in Auriga, M36 and M37.

The Solar System

Mercury starts off February still lost in the solar glare, but begins to reappear after the first week of the month. It’s still difficult on the 10th, but the party is just beginning—just a few days later, on Valentine’s Day, you’ll see Mercury glowing at magnitude -1.2; look for it low in the west, Continue reading “February Skies 2019”

January Skies 2019

by Zachary Singer


We start the first month of the New Year off with a splash—a total lunar eclipse on the night of January 20th. Along with that, we have planets and two targets in Eridanus—one is an important multiple-star system, and the other a striking planetary nebula.

Lunar eclipses happen when the Earth, Moon, and Sun align so that the Earth is between the other two bodies, preventing the Sun from shining onto the Moon. A total lunar eclipse occurs when all of the Sun’s direct rays are blocked; these are mesmerizing phenomena to observe, and while a telescope or binoculars would be great to have, you’ll be riveted even with your naked eyes. (Unlike solar eclipses, there’s no need to worry about eye protection.)

Continue reading “January Skies 2019”