aurora

Aurora and other sky glows

Sometimes, if you are lucky and live in the right part of the world, you will see the sky lit up by a natural glow called the aurora borealis.

Comet

Comets – ghostly wanderers

The changing appearance of planets in the sky is generally predictable. But occasional celestial visitors called comets can spring a surprise.

Triffid nebula

Nebulae, clusters and galaxies

As well as stars and planets, you can observe some of the brighter galaxies, star clusters and nebulae in the night sky.

Moon

The Moon – our close neighbour

The Moon is one of the easiest and most satisfying objects to observe. We are able to see more detail on its surface than any other body.

Meteors – see ‘shooting stars’

Meteors, commonly known as shooting stars, are a popular observing activity for beginners because you don’t need a telescope.

reappearance

Celestial hide and seek

An occultation is the phenomenon where one celestial body passes in front of another to hide it – like a kind of cosmic hide-and-seek.

The planets

Some of the planets that orbit the Sun along with our own Earth are easy to spot in the night sky and make fine targets for a small telescope.

The Sun

Astronomy is often thought of as a nighttime activity, but there is one object you can observe during the say – the Sun.

Variable stars

Stars are not all unchanging points of light. Many vary in their brightness, for various reasons. They are known, unsurprisingly, as variable stars.