Explore this Month's Sky & Folklore
Two exceptional live videos of the current skies:
- What's Up - NASA includes skywatching highlights, with a video of the month's night sky.
- Hubble-Tonight's Sky gives backyard stargazers a monthly guide to the northern hemisphere's skywatching events.
Excellent resources for your celestial viewing:
- Constellation List: Guide to the Night Sky gives a detailed overview of all 88 constellations including charts, facts and extensive mythology.
- What's Up Doc? gives a printable listing of the months celestial objects, meteors, naked eye, binocular, and telescope objects.
- SkyMaps gives you a printable monthly guide to the night sky suitable for all sky watchers, including newcomers to astronomy.
- Monthly Maps focuses on the monthly constellations and folklore.
- Sky Calendar provides an illustrated and very detailed, monthly calendar.
And for an overview of the celestial objects to focus on this week, check the weekly: Sky This Week.
The Winter Constellations
Winter begins with the winter solstice which occurs on December 21st in the Northern Hemisphere and ends in March on the spring equinox. The winter constellations are the 12 constellations that fall between 6 hours and 12 hours Right Ascension. Here are several resources to help you in your viewing during the coming months.
The American Association of Amateur Astronomers provides a list of the 12 winter constellations and a detailed map of the sky. They also provide similar information for the other seasons.
For greater details on the sky's wonders, move over to the star website at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Or check out the details of the constellations and their stars at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
And of course, look no further for these software programs available for your computer, phone, or tablet. Check out Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel - excellent free programs for your laptop or desktop. For your tablet or smart phone, give SkySafari or StarWalk a look.
Astronomy League's Constellation Hunter & Lunar Observing Programs
The Astronomical League offers many different astronomical observing programs. These programs are designed to provide a direction for observations and to provide a goal. The programs have awards, pins, and public notice to recognize the observers' accomplishments and for demonstrating their observing skills with a variety of instruments and objects. Our club is continuing its involvement with the Astronomical League's Constellation Hunter Program and Lunar Observing Program. We are providing the resources on this site for successful completion of both of these activities.
The Constellation Hunter Program provides an orientation to the sky for beginning astronomers. No special equipment (other than a planisphere and a reference for the brighter star names) is required. The objective is to provide a forum for the observer to become more familiar with the constellations and brighter stars and to begin to learn to navigate the night sky.