Andrew Spencer/Unsplash

The weirdness of gravity (and you could jump higher on the moon),  and a chance to see bits and pieces of Halley's Comet tonight!

Plus Venus and Saturn return to the evening sky.


If Larry has one piece of advice as April warms into May, it's: take a walk.  Every. Single. Day.

Sparky Stensaas. Used with permission.

The sky was just begging us to get out and look at it last week.

From the weekend auroras and the waxing crescent moon to the upcoming waning crescent moon (with appearances from guest stars Saturn and Jupiter), there are all kinds of things for star-gazers to get outside for in the next few weeks.

You can read more from Astro Bob at his blog here:

Copyright JR Kelsey. Used with permission.

Last week, Larry Weber told us we were in the running for the warmest January on record, surpassing the old record set back in 2006.

Today ... alas.  But despite the cold, we're still short on precipitation and snow, and that's already challenging this year's John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

©Lisa Johnson

So far, December is following the pattern set by October and November: quiet and dry, thawing during the day and freezing up overnight.

Starting Monday, the dark month earns its nickname with 4:20pm sunsets - the earliest of the year - for about a week.  And then ... they start getting later again.

Could spring be far behind?  It's probably too soon to ask that.

Copyright Bob King. Used with permission.

Last night, astronomer and photographer Bob King went to the shores of Lake Superior to watch - and photograph - the moonrise.

But for the next week and a half, he'll be making plans for a meteor shower-watching party with his family, and preparing a step-by-step tutorial on how to take fabulous photographs of the Geminid meteor shower and stay comfy and warm at the same time.

You can find more Astro Bob here.

Copyright JR Kelsey. Used with permission.

Thaw during the day ... freeze overnight.

Welcome to "normal November." 

In other news, once upon a time, says Larry Weber (and Laura Erickson), say, 30 years ago or so,  evening grosbeaks were common Northland visitors.

And then ... they were gone.

The good news is, they're starting to come back.

Copyright Bob King. Used with permission.

Make a note on your calendar right now: October 2.

After all, your calendar should have some fun stuff, too; not just responsibilities and appointments.

That's when the moon will be about a pinky below Mars (if you measure with your hand held out at arm's length).

Sometime this morning, too, the sun crossed the celestial equator - hence today's autumnal equinox.

Lots of sky-watching, clear skies and reasonable temperatures forecast for this week, too.

The biggest moon of the year takes over the night sky tonight, plus a citizen-science photography experiment, and Mars, Saturn and Jupiter line up with the moon next week like "a popcorn string of planets."

And Comet ATLAS, (like a lot of things these days) seems to be falling apart.

Peter Swaine/American Woodcock

Larry Weber is gonna make you feel better about just about everything today.

The backyard is going to become more interesting as we stay at home for a couple of weeks, fog and calm are terrific conditions for hearing sounds, sap's flowing, buds are popping,  and today's warm temperatures could even result in butterflies.

ESO/Luis Calcada

The moon is coming back, Betelgeuse is feeling a little brighter, and Bob King has a workaround for the reflecting teloscopes that will not allow us to see space vampires.

Full Moon over Lake Superior
Bob King

The only good thing about nights where the air temperature is -20 and the wind chill is worse is that you can be pretty sure the skies will be clear for star-gazing.

Venus, Mars and the "precious" nature of night vision this week on Astro Bob's Backyard Astronomy.

©Bob King. Used with permission.

The sun is pretty low in the skies these days, the first day of winter will be here before you know it, Venus is easy to see with Saturn alongside it (inspiring Astro Bob to write this love note to the planet!), and even though Bob says it's "no big deal," the Ursid meteor shower will peak over the weekend.


Where were you 50 years ago today?

If you're Bob King, you were combining your passions for astronomy and photography by taking pictures of the black-and-white television coverage of the Apollo 11 launch.

Everything you need to know about the 50th anniversary and more  in this conversation from this morning - and the links below!

Related links: