Welcome to Sky Lights! I hope you find what you’re looking for. If this is your first visit, take some time to read these helpful tips. Some readers use Sky Lights for their own education, some use it in the classroom, and some just enjoy looking at the awesome graphics. In any case, there’s a few things you should know to best utilize this resource.
|1. Subscribing to Sky Lights is easy. Just click the Subscribe to Sky Lights link, enter your name and email address, and you’ll receive a notification when a new Sky Lights is posted (usually every Monday). No charge, no gimmicks, no ads, and your email address will never be shared, sold, or used for any other purpose.
|2. Search our archives via the BROWSE ALL POSTS page, which provides titles and dates only. Or use the SEARCH ALL POSTS page, where you can enter search terms and get a list of matching posts with thumbnail graphics and a snippet of content. We have over 600 posts archived, so there’s a good chance we’ve already answered your question.
3. Sky Charts included in posts are obviously time sensitive — the sky in May will not look like the sky in June. However, the star patterns repeat every calendar year, so the sky in May 2000 will look exactly like the sky in May of any year … at least for a few millennia.
The Moon and planets, by comparison, are rarely where out-of-date sky charts show them to be. That’s because the Moon and planets continuously drift through the fixed constellations of stars. In fact, the word planet comes from the Greek planētēs which means “wanderer”.
4. Estimating angular distances in the sky is a valuable skill whether you’re interpreting sky charts or reporting observations. It’s a simple process that involves extending your open hand toward the sky and using it as a “ruler.” See FAQ #3 more details.
|5. Hyperlinks to additional resources are provided in most posts. You won’t find the level of fact attribution required in Wikipedia, but for uncommon concepts or disputed facts I’ll usually include a link to the source. Internal links to other Sky Lights posts are always “live”, but some external links might break over time. My apologies for when that happens. In many cases a targeted search on Google will find the missing content.
|6. Additional general resources can be found on our Links page. The links are separated into categories to help you easily locate what you need. Suggestions for new links are always welcome. I favor non-commercial sites without ads, typically sites hosted by government or educational institutions, or by fellow science geeks.
|7. Sky Lights is best viewed on a full-sized desktop monitor. My blog runs on a responsive WordPress theme that attempts to adjust the screen layout for tablets and smartphones, but some of the graphics and videos may be difficult to see without scrolling on smaller screens.