Posts by 

Deborah Byrd

Mars in 2022! What to expect from the red planet

Mars alternates years in appearing bright and faint. In 2021, Mars was faint, but it will brighten in 2022. Opposition will be December 8, 2022.

Watch for Mercury, too, as 2021 ends

Watch for Mercury, the sun's innermost planet, as 2021 ends. Bright Venus will be falling into the sunset glare. Mercury will be nearby.

Moon, Mars and Antares as 2021 ends

Moon, Mars and Antares: Start watching the east a few days before December 31, 2021, for red Mars and red Antares. On December 31, the moon will join the show.

Why are stars so bright as the year turns?

In December, January and February, we look away from the Milky Way's cloudy core toward the Orion arm, with stars so bright they capture our attention.

Your holiday sky guide: Visible planets and more, as the year turns

Visible planets, stars and more - including a couple of meteor showers - in late December 2021 and early January 2022. Don't miss this holiday sky guide!

Apollo 8 Earthrise photo anniversary, December 24

The iconic "Earthrise photo," taken Christmas Eve, 1968, from Apollo 8 during its orbit of the moon, helped launch the environmental movement.

Comet Leonard in the evening sky

The first comet to be found in 2021 was Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1). It's now the brightest and best comet of this year! Charts and more here.

Ursid meteor shower peaks morning of December 22

The Ursid meteor shower always peaks around the December solstice. The dark hours before dawn are best. This year, a nearly full moon interferes.

2021’s December solstice falls on the 21st

We reach the December solstice on December 21, 2021, at 15:59 UTC. High summer for the Southern Hemisphere and more sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere!

Aldebaran, Bull’s bloodshot eye, near moon December 15, 16, 17

Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus the Bull, is at one tip of a V-shaped cluster. If placed where our sun is, its surface would reach the orbit of Mercury.