Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Astronomy Lovers Blog Post

Find the perfect Valentines gift for the star gazer or astronomy buff. Whether they are a beginner or expert, there are plenty of options that will leave them starry-eyed.

Are you looking for a perfect gift for your special someone who loves astronomy? Here are some ideas to help you find the best gift for your astronomy lover this Valentine’s Day. 


A telescope is a classic and essential tool for any astronomy enthusiast. It allows them to observe the night sky and discover the wonders of the universe. There are different types of telescopes, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You should consider the size, portability, magnification, and accessories of the telescope before buying one. You can find a range of telescopes for different budgets and skill levels.

Star Chart  (Planisphere)

Star charts are a great way to learn the constellations and identify the bright stars. Many versions are available. A star chart from Name a Star is a personalized and romantic gift that shows the alignment of the stars and constellations on the date of your choice. You can choose the date of your anniversary, first kiss, or any other meaningful moment in your relationship. You can also name a star for your loved one.

Astronomy Book 

A book is a great gift for anyone who loves to learn and explore new topics. There are many books about astronomy that cover various aspects of the science, history, and culture of the field. Some examples are: 

 Cosmos by Carl Sagan: A classic and influential book that introduces the reader to the vast and awe-inspiring cosmos, from the origins of life to the future of humanity. 

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson: A concise and witty book that explains the fundamental concepts and mysteries of astrophysics in an accessible and entertaining way. 

50 Things To See With A Small Telescope by John A Read: explores the planets, stars, galaxies and nebulae visible from your own backyard including easy to follow star maps and eclipse charts.

Astronomy Experience 

If you want to give something more memorable and adventurous, you can treat your loved one to an astronomy experience. This can be anything from a visit to a planetarium, observatory, or museum, to a night of stargazing, camping, or glamping in a National Park.

The most romantic star naming gift is the double star, which is two stars so close together, they are considered one star.

December 2023 Skywatching Blog Post

December 2023 is an exciting month for skywatchers with the most meteors and the brightest asteroid. Learn how to view these special events.


True color image of Vesta taken by Dawn

December 1-2 starts your opportunity to see Asteroid Vesta, the brightest asteroid visible from Earth. 

It is at opposition, meaning it is directly on the opposite side of Earth from the Sun, and at its closest and brightest for the year. This is a good time to try viewing it with binoculars or a small telescope. Look for it to move northward in the sky between Gemini and Orion during the month. Use your favorite skywatching app to locate its precise position on the night you’re observing.

December 7-10 Venus rises in the morning.

Catch the slimming crescent of the Moon each morning over four days, as it rises together with Venus and bright star Spica, in the east during the couple of hours before sunrise. The planet Venus will be at its greatest western elongation, meaning it will be visible in the morning sky for a longer duration than usual.

December 13-14 the peak of Geminids meteor showers.

August’s Perseids may have the nicer weather, but the Geminids have the numbers. The Geminids meteor shower occurs all month, but peaks December 13–14. The dates correspond with the new moon, so the view could be amazing. Check them out both at night and pre-dawn. It is one of the most reliable meteor showers of the year and is known for producing up to 120 multicolored meteors per hour.

December 21 the longest night of the year is great for skywatching and sleeping.

The winter solstice will occur on this day, marking the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

December 22-23 Ursid meteor shower in the early morning hours.

The peak of the Ursid meteor shower will occur on these days. This meteor shower is known for producing around 5-10 meteors per hour .

 You can’t buy a Geminids Meteor, but you can Name a Star.

November 2024 Skywatching Blog Post

Planets, stars, meteors, and longer nights for your November skywatching pleasure.

Learn why Jupiter is so bright that you can see its moons, then later this month watch meteors, more planets, and a star cluster. The nights will be longer, so you will have more time to enjoy your favorite constellations.

Jupiter_with_moonsJupiter was in opposition last night (November 2-3). What does it mean when a planet is in opposition? The Earth and Jupiter are revolving around the sun at different rates. Every 13 months, the earth moves in between Jupiter and the sun. This is also the time when Jupiter is closest to Earth. So close that you can easily see some of Jupiter’s moons with ordinary binoculars. Jupiter will continue to be one of the brightest objects in the night sky, so get out there and have a look.

Make a point of getting away from light pollution on Friday night (Nov 3) to view Jupiter and the Taurids meteor showers. The Southern Taurids peak between Nov. 4 and Nov. 5, and the Northern Taurids peak between Nov. 11 and Nov. 12. 

The Leonids will send meteors soaring through the night sky, throughout November, with the peak of activity hitting Nov. 17-18. A dim, five-day-old waxing crescent moon will help, as will a viewing spot with a dark sky. Look just right of the constellation Leo to spot the meteors.

November 9 brings us a stunning, don’t-miss conjunction. Wake up early, grab a cup of coffee, bundle up, then head outside for the amazing show. Look about 24° above the horizon at 5 AM, the crescent Moon and Venus, the night’s most brilliant bodies, meet up.

Your best chance to see Uranus is on November 13 when it reaches its annual opposition. Remember what you learned about opposition earlier in this article? Uranus will appear as a greenish dot between Jupiter and the star cluster Pleiades. Best viewed with binoculars or a telescope.

But wait there is more. To the left of Jupiter will be the “Seven Sisters” of the Pleaides star cluster, one of the most popular sights in the night sky. It should reach it’s highest point on November 18, but should be visible all month.

You can’t buy a star in the Pleaides Cluster, but you can Name a Star.

What Is An Annular Solar Eclipse?

An annular solar eclipse is coming on October 14. Get ready!

 Learn about the annular eclipse that will cross from Oregon to Texas on October 14, 2023. A great skywatching opportunity before winter sets in.


Junior Ranger views the eclipse at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park. Photo by George Garbeck, Graphics Coordinator Department of Communications, Paterson Public Schools

What is an annular solar eclipse?  An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, but does not completely cover the sun. Instead, the moon covers most of the sun, leaving its outer edge visible as a bright ring or “annulus” around the darkened moon. This ring is often called a “ring of fire”. An annular eclipse occurs when the moon is at its farthest point away from Earth. Because the moon is farther away from Earth, it appears smaller than the sun and does not completely cover the sun. 

 When is the next annular solar eclipse : The next annular solar eclipse will occur on October 14, 2023. It will be visible in parts of the United States, Mexico, and across North, Central, and South America. In the United States the path of the  annular solar eclipse crosses through Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas

Is it safe to watch the eclipse?  During an annular eclipse, it is never safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection designed for solar viewing, such as special-purpose solar filters, like eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Remember the only safe time to look at the sun without solar filters is during the 2-4 minutes of total eclipse. It is never safe to look at the sun without solar filters during any other phases of the eclipse, or if you are viewing a partial or annular eclipse.

You can’t buy part of the moon, but you can Name a Star.

Constellation Pegasus The Winged Horse Blog Post

Lurid Tales of Constellation Pegasus the Winged Horse 

Pegasus_constellation_winged_horse_adapted_by_Chris_VaughanJoin us as we learn the lurid tale of the constellation Pegasus the Winged Horse, which is one of the largest constellations in the sky.

 Symbolism: Pegasus the Winged Horse

 Mythology: In Greek mythology, Pegasus is a white winged horse that sprang from the neck of the Gorgon Medusa when Perseus beheaded her. Medusa was a beautiful young woman before she was turned into a monster by the goddess Athena after being caught being defiled by the sea god Poseidon in the goddess’ temple. Athena turned Medusa’s hair into snakes and made her face so ugly that anyone who looked at her immediately turned to stone. Perseus was sent to defeat Medusa by King Polydectes of Seriphus. He who was the brother of Dictys, the man who took Perseus and his mother Danaë in and raised Perseus as his own son. Polydectes wanted Danaë for himself and Perseus stood in his way because Perseus defended his mother from the king’s advances. Polydectes did not expect the hero to come back from his mission alive. When Perseus defeated Medusa, Pegasus and the warrior Chrysaor sprang from her neck, both of them offspring of Poseidon.

When is it visible? This beautiful figure can be seen high in the sky starting near the end of summer and continuing through autumn if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. If you are below the Equator, look for Pegasus in late winter and through spring.

 How to find it? The easiest way to spot the Constellation of Pegasus would be to look high in the southern sky to locate the asterism collection of stars known as the great square of Pegasus. It is often described as a box with legs sticking out of it. 

 History and Science: It was first catalogued by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. The constellation is known for the Great Square of Pegasus, a familiar asterism in the northern sky, as well as for a number of bright stars and deep sky objects.

You can’t buy a star in the Constellation Pegasus, but you can Name a Star.

Two Supermoons In August 2023 Blog Post

Don’t miss the supermoon tonight and another one at the end of the month.

Learn about the celestial delights that await stargazers in August, including two supermoons and the Perseid Meteor shower.

 As the warm days of summer transition into the cooler nights of August, the skies above offer a dazzling array of celestial treats for stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts. This month brings with it a host of astronomical events, ranging from meteor showers to planetary displays, making it a perfect time to gaze at the wonders of the universe. So, grab your telescope or binoculars and mark your calendar, as we explore the captivating August skywatching opportunities.

Two Supermoons In August 2023.

The Full Sturgeon Moon rises tonight, followed by the Full Blue Moon on Aug. 30. Both are supermoons. So-called supermoons occur because the orbit of the moon around the Earth is not a perfect circle but is instead a flattened circle or an ellipse. This means that during its 27.3-day orbit, there are points at which the moon is closer to the Earth and points at which it is further away. A supermoon is a full moon that occurs when the moon is closest to the earth. It can appear to be bigger and brighter.

The Sturgeon Moon is named after the sturgeon fish, which can be more available to anglers in the Great Lakes during the summer months. A Blue Moon occurs when there is a second full moon in the same calendar month.

Perseid-Meteor-ShowerPerseid Meteor Shower

One of the most anticipated annual meteor showers, the Perseids, peaks in mid-August. Originating from the debris of the Comet Swift-Tuttle, this stunning display of shooting stars lights up the night sky. With up to 60 meteors per hour during its peak, observers can witness bright streaks across the heavens. Best viewed in dark, open areas away from city lights, the Perseids are a spectacle not to be missed.

Jupiter, the Milky Way, and Much More

August offers an enchanting tapestry of astronomical events, making it a prime time for skywatching and connecting with the wonders of the universe. See two supermoons, the captivating Perseid meteor shower, the gas giant Jupiter, and the majestic Milky Way shining in all its glory. The celestial delights of August are a true treat for stargazers. Make your stargazing special by naming a star after a friend or loved one and presenting it on a dark August night.

The Stellar Birthday Gift That Lasts Forever Blog Post


Birthday gift that lasts forever.

As birthdays approach, finding the perfect gift that symbolizes love, appreciation, and uniqueness for our loved ones can be a challenging task. While the usual presents like gadgets, clothes, or accessories are always appreciated, there’s something extraordinary about giving a gift that reaches beyond this world – naming a star. Although one cannot physically own a star, this unique and heartfelt gesture of naming a star after someone is an eternal reminder of the special bond shared between the gift giver and the recipient. In this blog, we explore why naming a star is a great birthday gift, leaving a lasting impression that twinkles in the heart forever.

A Unique and Timeless Gift:

Among the myriad of birthday gifts available, naming a star stands out as an incredibly unique and timeless gesture. Stars have captivated humanity since the dawn of time, representing hope, guidance, and wonder. Gifting a star’s name to someone signifies the individual’s unique presence in the gift giver’s life, making them feel cherished and valued. Unlike material possessions that might lose their charm over time, a star’s name shines brightly forever, making it an exceptional token of affection.

Connecting with the Cosmos:

As humans, we have an innate fascination with the cosmos and its mysteries. By dedicating a star, we invite the recipient to connect with the vastness of the universe, encouraging them to contemplate their place in the cosmos. It offers a sense of perspective, reminding us of how small we are in the grand scheme of things and emphasizing the significance of every individual in this vast universe. Such an experience can be both humbling and empowering, providing a unique and enriching aspect to the birthday celebration.

Personalization and Symbolism:

name-a-star-packageA star’s name can be chosen with great thought and care, incorporating personal significance that resonates with the recipient. Whether it’s their name, a special date, or a meaningful tribute, the chosen name becomes a powerful symbol of the relationship between the giver and the receiver. This level of personalization showcases the effort and love invested in the gift, making it all the more meaningful and memorable.

Lasting Memory and Legacy:

Unlike most birthday gifts that may fade or become obsolete over time, a star’s name endures for eternity. As the star continues to shine in the night sky, the memory of this heartfelt gift will remain alive in the recipient’s heart and mind. It creates a beautiful legacy that can be passed down through generations, leaving an everlasting impact on the family and loved ones.


Naming a star as a birthday gift goes beyond the ordinary and mundane, elevating the celebration to a celestial level. Its uniqueness, symbolism, and everlasting nature make it an exceptional and cherished token of love. As the star glimmers in the night sky, it serves as a constant reminder of the special bond shared with the gift giver. So, the next time you’re pondering the perfect birthday gift, consider buying a star name, and watch the recipient’s face light up with joy and wonder as they become a part of the cosmos forever.

Constellation Scorpius The Scorpion Blog Post

Constellation Scorpius the Scorpion

 Join us as we unveil the mysteries of the constellation Scorpius.

Constellation_Scorpius_the_Scorpion Symbolism: It is easy to imagine a scorpion when viewing the constellation Scorpius as the Greeks and Sumerians did, however it has had many symbols throughout history. The Javanese people of Indonesia call this constellation Banyakangrem, meaning “the brooded swan” or Kalapa Doyong, meaning “leaning coconut tree.” In Hawaii, it is known as the demigod Maui’s Fishhook. In Chinese mythology, the constellation was part of the Azure Dragon.

 Mythology: In Greek mythology, Orion tried to ravish the goddess Artemis and she sent the scorpion to do away with him. In another version, it was Gaia, the Earth goddess, that sent the scorpion after Orion had boasted that he could defeat any wild beast.

In Hawai’I myths, Scorpius represents the demigod Maui’s magic fishhook, which he used to pull up the islands. He tricked his brothers into paddling their canoe with all their might to haul up each island, which he had hooked using a great and magical fishhook. He told them it was a massive fish.

 When is it visible? July and August are prime-time months for observing this wondrous constellation. In early July, in either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, Scorpius climbs to its highest point in the sky at about 9 p.m. local time. The stars return to the same place in the sky about one-half hour earlier with each passing week.

How to find it? As seen from mid-northern latitudes, such as the central U.S., Scorpius’ arc is low across the southern sky.  From the U.S., the constellation never rises very high above the horizon, so a clear viewing area is needed to observe this gorgeous star pattern. Look for bright red star Antares, whose name means “rival of Mars”, just behind the head of the scorpion.

 History and Science: Scorpius pre-dates the Greeks and is one of the oldest constellations known. The Sumerians called it GIR-TAB, or “the scorpion,” about 5,000 years ago. Due to its location straddling the Milky Way, this constellation contains many deep-sky objects such as the open clusters Messier 6 (the Butterfly Cluster) and Messier 7 (the Ptolemy Cluster), NGC 6231, and the globular clusters Messier 4 and Messier 80.

You can’t buy a star in the constellation Scorpius but you can Name a Star in this ancient constellation known to many cultures.

Constellation Sagittarius The Archer Blog Post


Constellation Sagittarius The Archer

Join us on an epic journey as we unravel the secrets of the constellation Sagittarius, the half man, half horse centaur. Learn the mythology and science behind this August constellation.

Symbolism: Sagittarius represents a centaur, which is a half human, half horse creature with the torso of a man aiming an arrow toward the heart of neighboring Scorpio, the scorpion.

 Mythology:  There are two competing myths associated with Sagittarius.  One identifies this constellation not as a centaur but as the satyr, Crotus.  A satyr is a half-man, half-goat.  Crotus was the son of Pan (the goat-god) and Eupheme (the Muses’ nurse). The arrow in this constellation points towards the scorpion constellation, Scorpius.  It is said that Sagittarius is protecting Orion who is about to be attacked by Scorpius. In another Greek myth, Sagittarius is commonly thought to represent the centaur Chiron, a war-like creature with the torso of a man and the body of a horse. He was a skilled archer, musician, and physician. However, one day Chiron was accidentally shot by Hercules with an arrow that had been dipped in the poison of Hydra. 

 When is it visible? The constellation is visible at latitudes between +55° and −90° and in the northern hemisphere is best viewed during the month of August at 9.00pm. In the southern hemisphere, it is best viewed in the winter.

How to find it? You can find Sagittarius low on the southern horizon during summer.  The constellation resides on one side of the Milky Way, while Scorpius the scorpion resides on the other.

 History and Science: Sagittarius is an exciting constellation to explore, offering the amazing Lagoon Nebula and the Omega Nebula. It is the largest constellation in the Southern Hemisphere. The constellation was known to Babylonians and Greeks, plus earlier civilizations in the Middle East. Several civilizations in the Mesopotamian area associated the constellation with their god of war, variants of the archer-god Nergal. The Arabs named a number of prominent stars in the constellation after parts of a human body and parts of a bow and arrow, indicating that they too associated this constellation with an archer.

You can name a star for a friend or loved one in any of these constellations by visiting Name a Star.

Father’s Day Astronomy Gifts

Father’s Day is coming up, and if your dad is a space enthusiast, you’re in luck! There are a variety of astronomy gifts that are sure to please him. Here are a few ideas:


  • Unique gift: Surprise your father by naming a star after him.

  • Telescope: This is a classic astronomy gift that is perfect for any dad who loves to stargaze. There are a variety of telescopes available, so you can find one that is the perfect fit for your dad’s needs and budget.

  • Binoculars: Binoculars are another great option for dads who love to look up at the night sky. They are smaller and more portable than telescopes, making them perfect for taking on camping trips or to the beach.

  • Star map: A star map is a great way for dads to learn about the constellations and other celestial objects. There are a variety of printed star charts available, plus astronomy apps that dad can install on his phone.

  • Space book: There are many great books about space that would make great Father’s Day gifts. Some of our favorites include “The Universe” by Neil deGrasse Tyson, “The Martian” by Andy Weir, and “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson.

  • Space-themed clothing or accessories: There are a variety of space-themed clothing and accessories available, such as t-shirts, hats, and mugs. These are a great way for dads to show off their love of space.

No matter what you choose, any of these astronomy gifts is sure to be a hit with your dad. So show him how much you care this Father’s Day with a gift that celebrates his love of space.