How to See Comet NEOWISE

This July, Comet NEOWISE is closer to the earth than it will be for another 6,800 years. Make the most of this moment by making thoughtful observations:

cellphone photo of the comet NEOWISE was taken at the Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve
This cellphone photo of the comet NEOWISE was taken at the Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve on July 18, 2020.

1. PICK YOUR LOCATION
Where is the best place to make observations of the night sky? How does light pollution and weather impact what you can see?

2. ADJUST TO THE DARKNESS
Look at the sky when you first arrive and make note of what you see. After a few minutes, compare what you first saw to what you’re seeing now. Has it changed?

3. USE ONLY YOUR EYES
Scan the skies for a “star” that looks different from the others. Can you find it? Here’s a hint: It will be below the Big Dipper.

4. USE TOOLS
Binoculars and telescopes magnify objects that are far away and are helpful tools for observing the comet more closely. A pen and paper are also tools to aid your observations — draw what you see and write down your thoughts. This helps to focus your observations and creates lasting memories.

5. WHAT ELSE DO YOU SEE?
There’s more to wonder about in the night sky than NEOWISE. Have fun exploring.

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Post by Marisa

How to Create a Moon Phenology Wheel

Happy Moon Day! In honor of the anniversary of the first human steps on the moon, we’re celebrating space exploration — from the comfort of your home.

Study your environment to the pace of our lunar cycles with this moon phenology wheel activity.

For more on Phenology Wheels, check out this activity!

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Post by Marisa

Exploring the Equinox

Today, March 19, 2020, is the Vernal Equinox in Santa Cruz and we’re celebrating by exploring the constellations of the night sky at this time of year. Follow along with our Public Programs Manager Marisa as she shares the myths of Orion, Gemini, and Cancer.

For more on the Vernal Equinox, explore the following resources:

Post by: Marisa