Astronomy Guide

This guide initially displays things that you may be able to see over the next few weeks. Use the selector below to find items by name, regardless of time of appearance.

For more local information join the Pajarito Astronomers and watch for Los Alamos County-sponsored Dark Nights.

Astronomy References

Archaeoastronomy (solstices and equinoxes)
NASA (eclipses, transits, moon phases)

Subject Area Experts (all guides)

Steve Cary (butterflies)
Beth Cortright (insects)
Terry Foxx (invasive plants)
Leslie Hansen (mammals)
Richard Hansen (fish, mammals)
Dorothy Hoard (butterflies, trees)
Chick Keller (flowers, herbarium)
Shari Kelley (geology)
Kirt Kempter (geology)
Garth Tietjen (reptiles)
David Yeamans (birds)

Web Development and Content Management

Pat Bacha
Jennifer Macke
Graham Mark
Akkana Peck


Please contact us for local nature questions and sightings. We welcome comments, corrections, and additions to our guides.

For more information about local nature, please visit our Nature Blog or subscribe to PEEC This Week.

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Showing 5 of 179 items.
Coma-Virgo Galaxy Clusters

Photo: Hubble Space Telescope

Coma-Virgo Galaxy Clusters

Visible with a telescope
Apr 01 - Jun 30

The constellation Coma Berenices -- literally, "Berenice's Hair" -- is faint and not much to look at, but there are around 1300 galaxies in the Virgo cluster, and over 1000 in the fainter and more distant Coma cluster. You do need a telescope for this one, but if you are interested in galaxies, this might be a good time to visit a star party, like one of the Pajarito Astronomers' dark sky nights.

Sombrero Galaxy

Photo: HST, NASA and ESA

Sombrero Galaxy

Visible with a telescope
Apr 15 - Jun 30

The Sombrero Galaxy, or M104,is an interesting spiral galaxy with a prominent dust lane. It is barely visible in binoculars on exceptionally clear nights. You will need a telescope to see the dust lane, though. Find it from the trapezoid of Corvus.

Big Dipper

Photo: Montrealais

Big Dipper

Visible with the naked eye
Mar 01 - Jul 01

The Big Dipper is part of the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The two stars at the end of the ladle point to Polaris, the North Star. Follow the arc in the handle to the bright star Arcturus. The Big Dipper is circumpolar, meaning it is always visible, but it is highest in spring.

Summer Milky Way

Photo: ESO"

Summer Milky Way

Visible with the naked eye
Jun 01 - Sep 01

Look for the summer Milky Way as a cloudy band streaming across the sky from north to south. That is our galaxy, with the core of it in Sagittarius in the south.

Scorpius and Sagittarius

Photo: Eoghanacht

Scorpius and Sagittarius

Visible with the naked eye
Jun 01 - Sep 01

for Scorpius and Sagittarius in the southern sky. Sagittarius is shaped like a teapot, pouring tea onto the tail of the Scorpion. The brightest star in Scorpius is called Antares, the "Rival of Mars"

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