Almost autumnal greetings, sky gazers! This year autumn begins at on Sept. 22 at 3:20 p.m. eastern, when the sun crosses an imaginary line called the celestial equator from the northern half of the sky to the southern.

For those of us in the northern hemisphere that means the sun won’t be up as long and it won’t be rising as high in the sky. This trend will continue until December, after which the sun will begin it’s slow trek northward. But for now the days and nights are about equal and the sun is doing something it only does at the fall and spring equinoxes, it rises and sets exactly east and exactly west.

Ian Clarke is the director of the Hatter Planetarium at Gettysburg College. More information available at

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