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.

Memorial Day Tribute: Naming a Star to Honor Loved Ones and Pets with Lasting Brilliance

Memorial Day Tribute: Naming Stars to Honor Loved Ones and Pets Forever

Honoring departed loved ones and pets through heartfelt star-naming tributes. Stars symbolize eternal beauty and a connection to something greater. Create lasting tributes by associating stars with cherished individuals or companions. Memorial Day holds deep significance, a time to remember and honor the departed. Pay tribute to loved ones by naming stars, and forming personal links with the heavens. Star-naming aids in coping with grief and finding solace in the vast cosmos. Memorial Day serves as a collective remembrance, uniting communities in honoring legacies. Reflect on shared memories with departed loved ones on this special day.

Star names extend remembrance, symbolizing their enduring presence in the night sky. Visit gravesites, hold vigils, and participate in ceremonies on Memorial Day. Honor the impactful legacies left behind by those who have passed away. Naming stars ensures their spirits shine brightly, providing comfort and healing. Stars represent continuity and a connection beyond ourselves, offering solace. Memorializing loved ones through star naming brings comfort and reassurance. Their essence lives on in our hearts and in the stars above. Naming a star as a memorial tribute is a poignant gesture. Link the celestial realm with personal experiences to find solace in grief. Memorial Day strengthens remembrance, honoring those who have departed. Meaningful acts of remembrance ensure the enduring legacies of our loved ones.

When it comes to honoring a deceased loved one or pet, naming a star provides a unique and heartfelt memorialization option. Stars have always held a special place in the human imagination, representing everlasting beauty and a connection to something greater. By associating a star with a cherished individual or companion, we create a lasting tribute symbolizing their enduring presence in our lives.

2022 Veterans Day free meals and restaurant deals around LouisvilleMemorial Day, an important day of remembrance, holds significant meaning in our hearts. It is a time when we honor those who have passed away, paying tribute to their sacrifices. Additionally, it serves as an opportunity to remember our departed loved ones. On this solemn day, communities gather to commemorate their impact and share cherished memories.

Choosing to name a star after a loved one or pet offers a personal and tangible connection between the heavens and our cherished memories. It acts as a constant reminder of their joy and love, helping us cope with grief and find solace in the vastness of the cosmos.

As Memorial Day approaches, we reflect on the memories and experiences shared with our departed loved ones. It is a time for visiting gravesites, attending vigils, and participating in commemorative ceremonies. Incorporating the act of naming a star into this remembrance can enhance the experience, providing a symbolic representation of their eternal presence in the night sky.

Moreover, memorializing loved ones through star naming helps us find healing and comfort. It offers continuity and a profound connection, reminding us that although they may be physically absent, their essence lives on in our hearts and in the twinkling stars above. This realization, especially on Memorial Day, brings solace and the reassurance of their enduring love.

In conclusion, naming a star to memorialize a loved one or pet is a poignant and meaningful way to honor their memory. It establishes a lasting connection between the celestial realm and our personal experiences, offering solace during times of grief. Memorial Day, a significant occasion of remembrance, complements this act by providing an opportunity to reflect and pay tribute to those who have passed away. Combining these elements ensures that the legacies of our loved ones continue to shine brightly, bringing comfort and healing to those left behind.

Constellation Virgo

Look for the Constellation Virgo the Virgin in May and Learn Why She Symbolizes Fertility and the Changing of the Seasons

Constellation-Virgo-The-VirginSymbolism: Virgo the Virgin represented as a maiden holding a sheaf of wheat or ear of corn, symbolizing fertility and harvest. Learn more about the night sky at the Star and Space Blog.

Mythology: Overall, the stories and legends associated with the constellation Virgo often focus on themes of fertility, agriculture, and the changing of the seasons:

  1. According to Greek mythology, the constellation Virgo represents the goddess Demeter, who was the goddess of agriculture, harvest, and fertility. Demeter was said to be the mother of Persephone, who was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld. In her grief, Demeter neglected her duties as goddess of agriculture, causing a great famine on Earth. Eventually, Persephone was allowed to return to the surface for part of the year, which symbolized the changing of the seasons and the cycles of life and death.
  2. In Babylonian mythology, the constellation Virgo was associated with the goddess Shala, who was the goddess of grain and fertility. She was often depicted holding sheaves of wheat or barley.
  3. In Hindu mythology, the constellation Virgo was associated with the goddess Kanya, who was the daughter of the king of the gods. She was known for her beauty and her devotion to the gods.
  4. In ancient Egypt, the constellation was associated with the goddess Isis, who was the goddess of motherhood and fertility. Isis was often depicted holding an ear of corn or a sheaf of wheat, which represented the bounty of the harvest.

When is it visible? Virgo is a popular constellation among stargazers, and it can be easily seen in the night sky during the spring and summer months.

How to find it? The bright star Spica makes it easy to locate Virgo, as it can be found by following the curve of the Big Dipper to Arcturus in Boötes and continuing from there in the same curve.It may be helpful to use a star chart like the ones that you receive from Name a Star, when you dedicate a star to someone.

History and Science: Virgo is one of the most ancient constellations, with records of its existence dating back to ancient Babylonian times.


The galaxy NGC 4380 by ESA/Hubble, CC BY 4.0

One of the most distinctive features of Virgo is the star Spica, which is the brightest star in the constellation. Spica is actually a binary star system, meaning that it is made up of two stars that orbit around each other. Spica is also one of the nearest massive stars to Earth, located just 260 light-years away. Virgo is home to many galaxies, including the Virgo Cluster, which is a group of more than 1,000 galaxies that are located approximately 60 million light-years away from Earth. The Virgo Cluster is one of the closest galaxy clusters to Earth, and it contains several well-known galaxies, including Messier 87 and Messier 49.

Stargazing In Chile

Chile is a paradise for stargazers of all ages and abilities. Learn about the 100 plus designated “dark sky” reserves and Name a Star’s newest licensee NombraunaEstrella


Moonrise over the telescope domes on Cerro Tololo, with the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds visible. (Photo by Associated Universities for Research in Astronomy).

Chile has some of the clearest and most breathtaking views of the night sky in the world. Located in the southern hemisphere, Chile offers a unique perspective on the cosmos, with constellations and celestial objects that are not visible from other parts of the globe.

The Atacama Desert, located in northern Chile, is considered one of the best places on Earth for stargazing. Its dry, clear air and high altitude make for near-perfect conditions for observing the stars. Many professional observatories, including the European Southern Observatory’s Paranal Observatory, are located in the Atacama Desert, making it a hub for astronomical research.

But even outside of the Atacama, the rest of Chile offers plenty of opportunities for stargazing. The country has over 100 designated “dark sky” reserves, which are protected areas where light pollution is strictly regulated in order to preserve the beauty and clarity of the night sky. These reserves can be found all over the country, from the Andes Mountains to the shores of Patagonia.

One of the most popular stargazing spots in Chile is the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, located in the Coquimbo region. This observatory is open to the public on certain nights and offers guided tours of the facility and the night sky. Visitors can also take part in a variety of stargazing events and workshops, including astro-photography courses and telescope viewings.

Name a Star is proud to introduce our newest licensee, Name a Star Chile. You can trust them to provide a unique gift for any friend or loved one. Choose Name a Star for any occasion, including birthdays, holidays, employee recognition, or honoring someone who has passed away.

The best time for stargazing in Chile is during the winter months (June-August), when the air is at its driest and the nights are longest. This is also the best time to see some of the more elusive celestial objects, such as the Magellanic Clouds and the southern hemisphere’s version of the aurora borealis, known as the “Southern Lights.”

Overall, Chile is a truly exceptional destination for stargazing, offering unparalleled views of the night sky and a wealth of opportunities for amateur and professional astronomers alike. Whether you’re a seasoned stargazer or just looking to catch a glimpse of the cosmos, Chile has something to offer everyone. If you can’t visit Chile, you can still name a star in the southern hemisphere.