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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.

Sun in zodiac constellations, 2017

Sun-entry dates to zodiac constellations in 2017, using boundaries for constellations set by International Astronomical Union in 1930s.