This Week in Nature: April 11-17

“The sun was warm but the wind was chill. You know how it is with an April day. When the sun is out and the wind is still, You’re one month in the middle of May. But if you so much as dare to speak, A cloud come over the sunlit arch, And wind comes…

This Week in Nature: April 4-10

There is no glory in star or blossom till looked upon by a loving eye; There is no fragrance in April breezes till breathed with joy as they wander by. — William C. Bryant Using my ECOlogical Calendar as a guide, here’s what’s happening this week in nature. Map of the Spring sky: When we look into…

This Week in Nature: March 28 – April 3

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” — Charles Dickens Here’s what’s happening this week in nature. Boötes: Boötes, a northern constellation, known as the Herdsman, contains four bright stars visible by the…

This Week in Nature: March 21-27

“Daffodils that come before the swallow dares And take the winds of March with beauty.” — Shakespeare Here’s what’s happening this week in nature. Jupiter: Jupiter will be visible in the evening sky throughout spring. In the mornings of March 21 and 22, both Jupiter and our Moon will appear together.   Penumbral Lunar Eclipse:…

This Week in Nature: March 7-13

Here’s what’s going on this week in nature. Pleiades: Try to identify the Pleiades at night. I’m fascinated by them, and I always look for them in the night sky. They are the brightest star cluster visible from Earth. Many stars in the Pleiades are blue due to how comparatively young they are.   Jupiter…

This Week in Nature: February 1-7

The moon plays tag with four planets: Mars and the moon appear together on the morning of February 1. Saturn and the moon appear together on the evening of February 3. Venus and the moon appear together on the morning of February 6. And Mercury and the moon appear together on the evening of February…

This Week in Nature: January 25-31

Sirius: The brightest star visible from Earth, second only to the Sun, has an apparent magnitude of -1.46. (And remember, the lower the apparent magnitude, the brighter the star). Though Sirius is visible all year round, it’s so much better to view our bright stars in winter than in any other time of the year.…

This Week in Nature: January 18-24

Bright stars: Clear winter nights in January are the perfect time to see eight of the night sky’s 25 brightest stars. These eight form what is known as the Winter Circle: Sirius, Capella, Rigel, Procyon, Betelgeuse, Aldebaran, Pollux, and Castor.   Mercury joins the four-planet line-up: Mercury enters the morning sky on January 20. The…

This Week in Nature Dec 28 – January 3

And so ends the last few days of the old year, and enters the first few days of the new. “Full knee-deep lies the winter snow And the winter winds are wearily sighning Toll ye the church-bell sad and slow, And tread softly and speak low For the old year lies a-dying… Map of the…

This Week in Nature: October 19-25

Circlet: This faint circle of stars can be spotted directly below the Square of Pegasus. It is part of the constellation Pisces. Orionids: The Orionid meteor shower is expected to peak on October 21 and 22, producing about 20 meteors per hour. The best time to view the Orionids is just after midnight or right…

This Week in Nature: October 12-18

Whale’s Head: Look for two circles of stars in the fall sky below the Square of Pegasus. Follow the base of the Square to the left to find the larger, brighter circle. That is the Whale’s Head, part of the constellation Cetus. Menkar – the brightest star in the Whale’s Head – has an apparent…

This Week in Nature: October 5-11

Mercury Joins Jupiter, Venus, Mars Mornings Mercury enter the morning sky beginning the morning of October 7. Moon Meets Planets The moon will be next to a different celestial body every day between October 8 and October 11. Red Leaves Anthocyanins give leaves their red color and also act as a form of protection, allowing…

This Week in Nature: Sept 28 – October 4

Pegasus Square: The fall sky is anchored by the large Square of Pegasus. Four bright stars make up the corners. On one side are two diagonal sets of stars; one set points to Markab, the other to Scheat. Harvest Moons: In early autumn, the time between successive moon rises is relatively short in the Northern…

This Week in Nature: September 21-27

Equinox On September 23, at 08:21 UTC (4:21am Eastern), the Sun will be directly over the Earth’s equator. Mercury Leaves Evenings Mercury exits the evening sky on September 24 and won’t return until the evening of December 4. Saturn Evenings Saturn is now visible in the evening sky throughout Fall. Jupiter, Venus, & Mars Mornings…

This Week in Nature: September 14-20

Lyra Directly above head, right as it gets dark, is the constellation Lyra. The “upper” acute angle of this trapezoid-shaped constellation points toward the bright star Vega. Saturn & Moon These two celestial bodies appear together on September 18. Speed of Darkness The advance of darkness is most rapid near the September equinox, when three…