Sun's Over Above Earth

Sun's Position Over Earth
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Courtesy: Fourmilab Switzerland

Day & Night on Earth
View Earth's Night Half
Sunrise & Sunset on Earth
Six Current Views of Earth Current Global Cloud-Cover


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We hope you don't sit at your computer when there's a perfectly beautiful night-sky outside to observe!

Don't forget: the tools throughout this site are intended to help you observe the real sky!

One of the best (and most fun) ways of learning the constellations is by using CELESTIA!  (1.6.x)  Then go view them in your sky!

Are you unfamiliar with our 1.6.x and 1.4.1 links?  For an explanation  click here.

WHAT CAUSES MOON PHASES

STARS

List of Brightest Stars

List of Named Stars

List of Nearest Stars

CONSTELLATIONS


North Circumpolar Constellations

Here are links to some sites offering good diagrams and background information on the 88 official constellations.

eCUIP's Where Is Polaris

UNL's Big Dipper Clock

Wiki's List of Constellations with Abbreviations

IAU Constellation Page

RASC Const. Pron. Guide

SEDS Constellation Pages:

      Table of Constellations
      Constellation Families

Chandra Constellation Page

Don't forget that you can also view the constellations easily in  Solar System Scope.

ELONGATIONS/
CONFIGS

Here's the link to a superb page from UNL that further describes  Elongations and Configurations.

CELES-TIPS

The following will help you enjoy this page's 1.6.x and 1.4.1 links that run events directly in CELESTIA.  If you're new to the program, these tips will also help you learn to use it.

You'll find more information about many of CELESTIA's controls on our  Learning Center  page.


SKY VIEWING

Current Global Weather

TONIGHT'S SKY MAPS

Select the latitude closest to your own.  Then click on "Get Sky Maps" and enjoy tonight's sky marvels!

Latitude:    

2017 HIGHLIGHTS

Best Eclipse in US History: 2017 Aug 21  

Best 'eyeball' Conjunctions:

    Mercury-Mars (separation 0.05°) : 2017 Sep 16
    Venus-Mars (separation 0.22°) : 2017 Oct 5
    Venus-Jupiter (separation 0.28°) : 2017 Nov 13

Geminid Meteor Shower: 2017 Dec 13-14

For information on all the latest 2017 sky events (and sky marvels)  check out our NEWS page.


USNO's  The Sky This Week


Here's a direct link to the easy-to-use and very capable  S&T Interactive Sky Chart, which will open in its own window.  This lets you compare its charts to tonight's SkyMarvels™ sky maps.  (Requires: JAVA.)


Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise, Moonset

MOON PHASES 2017
video credit: NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Moon Phases:               Today's
      Calendars:    This Month's   This Year's
      List:   This Year's

Here is a great  Calendar of 2017's Moon Phases & Events  courtesy of  Newcastle Observatory.
Newcastle's Previous Moon Phase Calendars: 
2016    2015    2014    2013    2012    2011    2010    2009    2008   

Old Format Previous Months' Phase Calendars:
2014:  Jan      2013:  Dec    Nov    Oct    Sep    Aug    Jul    Jun    May    Apr    Mar    Feb   

NOTE:

  1.   New Moons essentially rise and set with the Sun and reflect no sunlight toward Earth, so they allow Deep Sky Observing all night.
  2.   1st Qtr Moons generally rise near "local noon" and set near "local midnight", allowing Deep Sky Observing only during the last half of the night.
  3.   Full Moons generally rise near sunset and set near sunrise, allowing no Deep Sky Observing all night.
  4.   Last Qtr Moons generally rise near "local midnight" and set near "local noon", allowing Deep Sky Observing only during the first half of the night.

ECLIPSES OF 2017 (enter year)

2017's Eclipse "Seasons":
        early thru late Feb; early thru late Aug

View of Moon's Features  that are visible from Earth with binoculars or low-power telescope.


CURRENT SUN, MOON AND MAJOR PLANET
VIEWS AND CONDITIONS FROM EARTH

W A R N I N G !   It is never safe to look directly at the real Sun with the naked eye!  Moreover, looking at it through a telescope or binoculars without adequate safeguards—even for an instant—can cause permanent blindness!  NEVER DO IT!  To learn how to safely "observe" the real Sun, consult the professionals at your local planetarium or observatory.

Distances, Apparent Sizes, Phases, Moon Locations
Sun      Moon      Mercury      Venus      Mars
Jupiter      Saturn      Uranus      Neptune

Locations Among the Constellations (w/ Geo-Coords)
Sun      Mercury      Venus      Mars
Jupiter      Saturn      Uranus      Neptune

Current Locations of the Planets in their Orbits

Current Locations of Jupiter's Galilean Moons

CURRENT YEAR'S GREATEST ELONGATIONS
Mercury      Venus

NEXT TRANSITS: MERCURY & VENUS
Mercury:  2019 Nov 11      Venus  2117 Dec 10-11


NOW ALONG THE ECLIPTIC


Courtesy: Fourmilab Switzerland

Scroll the above image right and left along the Celestial Equator (aqua line) to view the current circumstances near the Ecliptic (red line, simplified into line segments in this diagram.)  You'll quickly find where the Sun, the Moon and the planets currently lie in the constellations of the zodiac, which is generally the most active part of the sky.  You'll also be able to keep track of when these bodies will move past each other or past major stars.


THE SUN'S APPARENT MOTION
THROUGH THE SKY

Owing to Earth's motion around the Sun, to Earth-bound observers the Sun appears to move eastward in the sky along the Ecliptic.  Moving generally eastward about 1° per day through the constellations of the Zodiac, the Sun therefore arrives at very specific parts of the heavens on specific dates and times.  To better understand this apparent motion of the Sun, you can view  Equinoxes & Solstices through March 2014


WHERE IS THE SUN TODAY
ALONG THE ZODIAC?

Here's a nice interactive Flash demo showing the  Sun's Location Along the Zodiac at Various Times of Year.  Drag its red pointer right and left over the names of the months.  You can also drag the Zodiac itself.


HOW FAR NORTH OR SOUTH WILL
THE SUN RISE AND SET TODAY?

Here's a nice interactive Flash demo showing the  How Far North and South the Sun Rises and Sets at Various Times of Year.


EARTH'S CURRENT TILT
RELATIVE TO THE SUN

Though its two principal views display Earth rotating at different speeds, this Flash tool (in Dutch) lets you  Easily Find Earth's Current Tilt Relative to the Sun.  Moreover you can change just a few Settings to view how Earth's varying tilt throughout the year causes the seasons and affects the lengths of our days and nights.  Changing the month is most instructive.  (Note: in this animation the Vernal Equinox is essentially toward the bottom of your screen in its Northern Hemisphere view and outward toward you in its Oblique view.)


LATEST MAJOR SOLAR ACTIVITY
VISIBLE FROM EARTH

Sunspots      Prominences, Flares, etc.

W A R N I N G !   It is never safe to look directly at the real Sun with the naked eye!  Moreover, looking at it through a telescope or binoculars without adequate safeguards—even for an instant—can cause permanent blindness!  NEVER DO IT!  To learn how to safely "observe" the real Sun, consult the professionals at your local planetarium or observatory.


GET THE LATEST AWESOME SATELLITE
VIEWS OF THE SUN WITH "HELIOVIEWER"

HelioViewer  might just be the best free solar astronomy tool on the web, giving you access to countless actual photos of the Sun from multiple satellites!  "Time-step" through photos, and save and even make movies of what you find!  This free web-tool is not to be missed.

Here's an example  movie that SkyMarvels made using HelioViewer.  It shows some incredible solar prominence activity on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day!

And to help get you started, here's the direct link to the HelioViewer User Guide.


CURRENT AURORA FORCASTS

      OVATION Forecast:
                  Northern Lights: Aurora Borealis
                  Southern Lights: Aurora Australis


Image credit: NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center

THE MESSIER OBJECTS

The Messier objects rank among the all-time favorites of avid sky viewers!  This is because they can easily be viewed in small telescopes (as small as 4" aperature).  They thus include some of the most famous sky objects, many of which are known even to non-sky-enthusiasts.  M31, for example, is the famous Andromeda Galaxy and M42 is the Orion Nebula.

Here is a link to the SEDS site's excellent  Interactive Messier Objects page.  Clicking on each object's image leads you to loads of images and info, including its coordinates and diagrams to help you find it in the sky.

DEEP-SKY OBJECTS (DSO's)

The term "deep-sky objects" (DSO's) typically refers to celestial "groupings" or "formations" that are neither ordinary stellar systems nor members of any solar system.  These include star clusters, nebulae and galaxies, and they offer sky viewers some of the most captivating observations possible.  For example, the 110 Messier objects are all deep-sky objects.  But there are also myriads of others!

The New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (abbreviated "NGC") and the Index Catalogue (abbreviated "IC") are two standard references that offer lists of thousands of deep-sky objects.  (The Messier Objects are also included in the NGC.)

The SEDS site's  Interactive NGC Catalog Online  offers one of the best portals to information about deep-sky objects.

Wikipedia's  New General Catalogue  and  IC Objects  pages are also good sources of information about deep-sky objects.

Also check out  our own Deep-Sky Objects page.

OBSERVING PROGRAMS

Okay, we know it; the Universe is a "biggggggg" place!  So, at times, deciding which of the sky's innumerable marvels you want to observe can seem a bit daunting.  Would you like some help?  The  Astronomical League  has established some terrific  Observing Programs  to help you get the most out of your sky viewing.

MORE SKY-VIEWING AIDES

Photopic Sky Survey  Here's a beautiful panorama that gives an illuminating perspective of the Celestial Sphere viewed from the plane of the Milky Way!  (Note: there's a control (tiny " i " button) at bottom-center-left that turns on constellation asterisms, labels and the Ecliptic.)

Sunrise/Sunset, Moonrise/Moonset & Twilight Calculator  at the US Naval Observatory website.  Tables of each can be generated for an entire year.

Rise/Set/Transit Times for Major Solar System Bodies & Bright Stars  is a similarly good resource at the US Naval Observatory website.

Moon 2013    Moon 2014

Mercury's and Venus's Sky Paths 2013–2014

Mars's Sky Path 2013–2014

Jupiter's Sky Path 2013–2014

Saturn's Sky Path 2013–2014

Detailed NASA / JPL SPACE CALENDAR:  a lot of info on the major planets, dwarf planets, asteroids, KBO's, comets, eclipses, lunar occultations, etc.

Free SFA Observatory Full-Sky Star Charts PDF

NASA JPL Night Sky Planner

VIEWING CONSIDERATIONS

THE EFFECTS OF TWILIGHT


HORIZON EFFECT


ESTIMATING ANGULAR DISTANCES

Since your hand is always "handy", you can use these rules of thumb (so to speak) to estimate how far apart objects appear in the sky.  Views are of your hand held out with your arm fully extended.

Another very useful benchmark to remember is this: a U.S. penny held 43 inches from your eye subtends an angle of 1° (one degree).


TELESCOPES

Telescopes were a quantum leap forward for viewing the sky.  No longer were humans limited by the resolving power of the human eye.  Here are links highlighting how telescopes work and what they have contributed to our understanding of the universe.

From the STSci's Amazing Space site, here's a nice interactive feature that presents  Telescopes From The Ground Up.  This is a very good introduction to telescopes.

Here is a nice interactive tool from NASA that shows  How Different Types of Telescopes Work.

Here's a very nice  Telescope Simulator  that shows the relationship between a refracting scope's components and its performance.  And  here's another one.

Here's an interesting simulation of the workings of the   Faulkes Telescope.

A Nice HubbleSite Video  about viewing the sky.


PARALLAX

Parallax is the apparent displacement of a closer object relative to a farther object as we change the position from which we view them.  Here, from the King's Centre for Visualization in Science (KCVS), is a very nice Flash interactive that demonstrates  Parallax.


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© 2007- by Gary M. Winter.  All rights reserved.

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Planet Comparison HD vid.


CURRENT MOON PHASE
Courtesy: USNO


   
   
   
(India)   

SKY VIEWING
SOLAR SYSTEM
THE SUN
MERCURY
VENUS
EARTH
THE MOON
MARS
JUPITER
SATURN
URANUS
NEPTUNE
SMALLER WORLDS
STELLAR OBJECTS
EXOPLANETS
DEEP-SKY OBJECTS
SCALE OF THE COSMOS
———————
SKY-FUN / SKY-GAMES


UPCOMING:

Comets:

      Visible in N Hemisphere
      Visible in S Hemisphere

Eclipses:

     NASA:

          Lunar:  2017 Aug 7
          Solar:  2017 Aug 21
                GIF Map only
                Animation only
          5 Millenia:  Solar  Lunar

     HMNAO:

          Lunar:  2017 Aug 7
          Solar:  2017 Aug 21
          600 Years of Eclipses

SNEAK PREVIEW!

Best Eclipse in US History 21 August 2017  
Much more on  News Page

Lunar Occultations

Planet Conjunctions:   List

Meteor Showers:

    IMO:   Calendar   PDF
    AMS:   Calendar

NEO Close Approaches

Transits:

     Mercury:  2019 Nov 11

     Venus:   2117 Dec 10-11


ISS (Int'l Space Station):
    Current Location


NASA's LATEST:

ISS (Int'l Space Station) Info:

      Live ISS Stream
      Spot the Station

Solar Images

W A R N I N G !
Never look directly at the real Sun with the naked eye!  It isn't safe!  Moreover, looking at the Sun through a telescope or binoculars without proper safeguards, even for an instant, may cause permanent blindness!  NEVER DO IT!  To learn how to safely "observe" the real Sun, consult the trained professionals at your local planetarium or observatory.

SDO (SOLAR DYNAMICS OBSERVATORY)

     Location

     Sun Activity: Today's Vids

          Sunspots
          Prominences
          AIA 171 (gold)
          AIA 193 (bronze)
          AIA 1700 (pink)
      Interactive Tool


ESA's LATEST

ISS Location

Follow ESA Missions


SKY-VIEWING
FUN FACTS

Though some people report seeing farther objects when viewing is exceptional, the Andromeda galaxy, M 31, is generally considered to be the farthest object normally visible to the naked eye!  It's about 2½ million light-years away!

Estimates place the number of stars visible to the naked eye at about 6,000!

Apparent magnitude tells us how bright an object looks from Earth.  A bit like golf, where a lower score is best, brighter sky objects have lower apparent magnitudes!  For example, the Sun has an apparent magnitude of about -27 ("minus" 27).  Contrast this with Pluto, which has an average apparent magnitude of about +15 ("plus" 15)!

The un-assisted human eye, also called the "naked eye", can typically distinguish sky objects whose apparent magnitudes are +6.5 or less.  All observation of the sky was limited to this until the early 1600's, when the first telescopes were invented!

An 8" telescope can enable the viewing of objects with apparent magnitudes which exceed +14!


SKYMARVELS™
CELESTIA ADD-ONS

Solar
Eclipse Finder

Lunar
Eclipse Finder


SKYMARVELS™ POSTERS

Time Zones

Earth's Tides

Our Corner of the Cosmos

Anatomy of the Milky Way


SKYMARVELS™ VIDEOS

The Solar System Barycenter

Inferior Planet Phases

The Earth-Moon Barycenter

The Speed of Light

Stunning Fields of View 001

Stunning Fields of View 002

Have You Ever . . . ?

"celestia4all" Site Preview


Solar Eclipses:

   Solar Eclipses thru 2012

   Solar Eclipse 2010 Jul 11

   Solar Eclipse 2012 Nov 13

   Solar Eclipse 2013 Nov 3


Lunar Eclipses:

   Lunar Eclipses thru 2012

   Lunar Eclipse 2010 Jun 26

   Lunar Eclipse 2010 Dec 21

   Lunar Eclipse 2011 Jun 15