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By Kelly Kizer Whitt

Relief from the heat of summer and long days baking in the sun is on its way. The Northern Hemisphere's fall equinox occurs on Sept. 22 at 6:54 P.M. PDT. The harvest moon—the full moon that comes closest to the equinox—is just two nights later, on Sept. 24 at 7:53 P.M. PDT. On this date, the moon is in the constellation Pisces.

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The Perseid meteors shower shot In Aug. 12, 2016, in Inner Mongolia China. Bjdlzx / Getty Images

By Kelly Kizer Whitt

August is the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the free show overhead.

The Perseid meteor shower is one of the most prolific annual meteor showers and the only one that occurs in the summer. The Perseids can produce up to 100 meteors an hour at their peak, which is around Aug. 11/12. Skies will be nice and dark thanks to a new moon on Aug. 11, which will make it easier to see even the faintest streaks. Find a location away from trees, buildings and light pollution, and look up to catch the fast-moving meteors as they burn up upon contact with our atmosphere. These meteors come from the Great Comet of 1862, Comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle.

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By Kelly Kizer Whitt

Known since ancient times, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can normally all be seen with the naked eye. Greeks called them "wandering stars" or "asteres planetai." This July, all five move into positions that make for optimal viewing.

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By Kelly Kizer Whitt

Although June is the month with the least amount of darkness, for many, stargazing ramps up this month. It's finally warm enough in much of the U.S. to lounge outside, even at night. Barbecues, sports events and other activities have people lingering in the great outdoors until after sunset, when they can watch the first stars appear.

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Jupiter comes into opposition on May 9. NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute

By Kelly Kizer Whitt

On May 9, Jupiter reaches opposition, when from our earthly point of view, it will be opposite the sun in the sky. Stargazers consider opposition the best time to view a planet, because it rises at sunset and sets at sunrise, making it visible all night long.

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Infrared images of South African Rhinos. Endangered Wildlife Trust / LJMU

Attendees at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (EWASS), hosted in Liverpool, UK from April 3 to 6, had the chance to hear a surprising presentation.

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By Kelly Kizer Whitt

Venus is often mistaken for a plane because of its brilliance; it shines more brightly than all the other planets because of its location close to Earth and its thick, reflective clouds. The common phrase "the evening star" usually doesn't refer to a star at all; it's Venus. When it stands alone in the west after sunset, as it has over the past month, Venus is the first bright object to burst through the fading twilight.

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Assja / iStock

By Kelly Kizer Whitt

This month, our days will finally become "longer." Clocks will spring forward an hour for Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, March 11. At the same time, the Northern Hemisphere is shifting from winter to spring, which means longer days are also coming naturally. The equinox falls on March 20, when the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west.

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By Sabine Bergmann

For millennia, human beings have gazed into the firmament and been awed by the thousands of stars, galaxies, nebulae and other cosmic wonders visible to the naked eye. But in recent generations, much of humanity has become divorced from these marvels. Today, at least 80 percent of people living in the United States and Europe are so inundated with light pollution that they can't even see our own Milky Way, let alone our neighboring galaxies like Andromeda.

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By Kelly Kizer Whitt

Winter skies display more bright, sparkling stars than other seasons do, and this year especially, the planets have left the stage to give the stars their chance to shine, hovering visibly in the morning sky instead. At the end of the month, brilliant Venus will emerge from the glow of sunset to become the "evening star."

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By Kelly Kizer Whitt

Astronomical observers will find lots of reasons to mark their calendar in 2018. Two supermoons, two blue moons, five planets at opposition, three meteor showers that could produce more than 100 falling stars an hour, and at least one comet all occur in the year ahead, guaranteeing that you'll have something up above to get excited about each month this year.

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