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Favorite photos from this weekend

The EarthSky community on Facebook outdid itself posting photos over the weekend of January 20-22, 2017. Thanks, everybody! Editors’ picks here.

January guide to the bright planets

In January 2017, Venus blazes in the west after sunset. Mars is fainter, and nearby. The other 3 bright planets – Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury – light up the hours before sunrise.

Dates of lunar and solar eclipses in 2017

Dates of all solar and lunar eclipses this year, plus a preview of the great American total solar eclipse of 2017.

Vesta, brightest asteroid, brightest for 2017

If you’ve never spotted an asteroid, now would be a good time to try. Vesta’s 2017 opposition is around now. Guy Ottewell provides charts and explains more.

2017 is a lousy year for Mars, but wait!

Throughout 2017, Mars will appear as a faint and inconspicuous reddish star in our sky. But wait until 2018, when Mars will come closer to Earth than it has since 2003.

Why stars seem brighter this time of year

No matter where you are on Earth on December, January and February evenings, you’re looking toward bright stars in our local spiral arm.

See it! First full moon of 2017

In the Northern Hemisphere, the January full moon is sometimes known as the Wolf Moon. Howl at these awesome photos of the January’s full moon from EarthSky friends around the world.

EarthSky’s meteor shower guide for 2017

All you need to know about 2017’s major meteor showers! How and when to watch, and more.

Is tonight’s moon a supermoon?

The first of 2017’s 12 full moons falls on today’s date. It’s the 3rd-closest full moon in 2017, but is it a supermoon? Even experts disagree. Learn why here.

Moon in 2017

Everything you want to know about the moon in 2017 – including phases, cycles, eclipses and supermoons – from world-renowned astronomer Fred Espenak.

No double moon in 2017, or ever

Can Mars ever appear as large as the moon in Earth’s sky? Heck no.

Are perihelion and solstice related?

December solstice 2016 was December 21. Earth is closest to the sun for 2017 on January 4. Coincidence?

Astro festivals, star parties, workshops

There are some awesome winter star parties coming up, where amateur astronomers with telescopes will show you the night sky. Find one near you …

See it! Moon sweeps past Venus and Mars

As 2017 opens, the young moon is sweeping past dazzling Venus in the west after sunset. Mars is there, too, and, for those with optical aid, Neptune! Photos here.

Close and far moons in 2017

We list the 13 lunar perigees (close moons) and 13 lunar apogees (far moons) for the year 2017, plus share a secret on the intriguing cycle of close and far moons.

A comet in the west after sunset?

Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková is in the west after sunset now. It’s too faint to see with the eye alone, but some photographers might catch it.

Northerly latitude? Try the Quadrantids

Plan now to watch 2017 Quadrantid meteor shower between midnight and dawn on the mornings of January 3 or 4. Shower is a gamble. Peak is short and sweet. You must be northward on Earth’s globe.

Total eclipse of sun: August 21, 2017

If you haven’t made plans yet, now’s the time. All you need to know about the 1st total solar eclipse visible from the contiguous U.S. since 1979, from eclipse master Fred Espenak.

Best places to watch 2017 eclipse

Where’s the best place to see the August 21, 2017 eclipse? Here are 10 great viewing spots to gaze upon nature’s grandest spectacle, weather permitting.

What is the zodiac?

You might associate the word zodiac with astrology, but it has an honored place in astronomy, too. It’s defined by the annual path of the sun across our sky.