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.
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
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.
Photo: Hubble Space Telescope
Coma-Virgo Galaxy ClustersVisible 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.
Photo: HST, NASA and ESA
Sombrero GalaxyVisible 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 DipperVisible 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 WayVisible 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 SagittariusVisible 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"