Your family guide to stargazing the fall sky

These tips and star charts will give kids a spectacular night show.

September and October bring a change of seasons on Earth—and a change above it as well. Although the skies might appear a bit bare after all the summer sparkle, the coming weeks offer sky-watching families a chance to glimpse pretty planetary lineups, cosmic time machines, and perhaps ghostly glows.

And with darkness setting in earlier each evening, kids can even explore the cosmos on school nights. So dust off those binoculars and telescopes to fill your stargazing calendar!

You might think of the stunning cosmic displays of the aurora borealis—otherwise known as the northern lights—as something only those in the far north can glimpse. But these shimmering and dancing glows increase in frequency during fall (though scientists are stumped as to why). That means even if you live in more southerly latitudes, you might be able to spot the show—sometimes the lights have been seen as far south as Florida and Mexico.

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