cartoon robot


Source: American Museum of Natural History

The night sky is like a giant puzzle. Hidden among the thousands of stars you can find dozens of constellations. You can also search for individual stars and planets. Stargaze when there is little or no moonlight and the sky isn’t cloudy and give your eyes a half hour to adjust to the darkness. Bring some tools, including a sky map to help you identify what you see and binoculars or a telescope to see celestial sights more clearly and closer up. Keep a notebook with you to sketch what you see in the sky and to keep a record of your sightings.

Not all points of light you see at night are stars. Airplanes, satellites, and meteors (or “shooting stars”) move fast, so they’re easy to tell from stars. But what about planets? Planets look a lot like bright stars, so telling stars from planets can be tricky. One clue is that planets don’t twinkle like stars, although it’s sometimes hard to see the difference. To see what planets are currently visible in the night sky, visit’s interactive night sky map.

Learn more, including how to keep a sky journal of what you see and how to identify constellations, phases of the moon, and galaxies!

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