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All you need to know: September equinox

We have an equinox coming up on September 23 at 1:54 UTC. That’s September 22 for clocks in North America. Details here. Happy almost-autumn (or spring)!

Orion’s Belt points to dazzling Sirius

You’ll find Orion and the bright star Sirius up before dawn now. They’ll be shifting into the evening sky as the months pass.

Close-up on Cassiopeia the Queen

The constellation Cassiopeia the Queen has the distinct shape of a W or M. Find her in the north-northeast sky on September and October evenings.

Use Big Dipper to find North Star

The 2 outermost stars in the bowl of the Big Dipper point to Polaris, the North Star.

Hazy light pyramid in east? False dawn

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you can see the zodiacal light, or false dawn, at this time of year. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, look for it after sunset.

Great Square of Pegasus points to Andromeda galaxy

If your sky is dark, you’ll enjoy locating these stars and using this method of finding the Andromeda galaxy.

Orion and Sirius the Dog Star

A sign of the changing season, Sirius – the sky’s brightest star – is visible before sunup. You’ll know it’s Sirius if the very noticeable 3 stars in Orion’s Belt point to it.

Ophiuchus is part of the zodiac, too

Poor Ophiuchus. Nobody ever claims him as a “birth sign,” although the sun moves in front of his stars from about November 30 to December 18. Keep the big guy company. Find Ophiuchus in your sky tonight!

61 Cygni is the Flying Star

61 Cygni isn’t bright. But it moves exceptionally rapidly against the background of more distant stars. Its motion reveals its nearness to Earth.

Dark Rift in the Milky Way

Standing under a dark sky? Look up! In August, you’ll notice a long, dark lane dividing the bright Milky Way. This Dark Rift is a place where new stars are forming.

August 6 and 7 before sunup: Moon in Taurus

These next 2 mornings – August 6 and 7, 2018 – you’ll find the moon in front of Taurus the Bull, near its 2 most prominent signposts: the bright star Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster.

Summer Triangle on August evenings

The Summer Triangle is a fixture of our skies at this time of year. Its 3 stars are Vega, Deneb and Altair.

The cycle of close and far Martian oppositions

Like so much in the sky, very close approaches of Mars happen in cycles. Become a Mars guru, here.

Moon near Saturn on July 24

Saturn is the bright planet close to tonight’s moon, but a couple of brighter ones – Jupiter and Mars – are also nearby. Learn to identify them all!

Delta Aquariids peak on eclipse night, Mars night

There’s no moon-free window left for meteor-watching this week. Yet this shower – whose nominal peak is July 27, same night as this century’s longest lunar eclipse and the brightest Mars since 2003 – might be a winner in 2018.

How to find Delta Aquariid radiant point

How to spot the radiant point for the Delta Aquariid meteor shower, going on now. Plus … why meteors in annual showers have radiant points.

Moon north of star Antares on July 22

The name Antares derives from the Ancient Greek and means rival to Ares – that is, rival to Mars. Like Mars, Antares is red in color. Antares is sometimes brighter than Mars, it’s no match for Mars now!

Moon, Jupiter and Spica on July 19

On July 19, 2018, as the setting sun closes the curtains on the day, and the darkening skies bring out a myriad of far-off suns, let the moon introduce you to a very special star.

Deneb and Cygnus the Swan

The star Deneb in its constellation Cygnus the Swan are part of the famous Summer Triangle.

Altair and Aquila the Eagle

Look for the star Altair in the east on July evenings. You’ll recognize it for the 2 fainter stars on either side of it … as if the 3 were “walking the Milky Way hand in hand and three abreast.”