Due south this evening at 9:05 PM EST is the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, the “nose” of Canis Major, the Great Dog. The path of all stars and planets creates an arc, with its highest point due south, placing Sirius in its best viewing position. The name Sirius comes from the Arabic word meaning “blazing one”.
On the next clear night, it should be quite easy to find the brightest star – the North Star, right? No! As you scan the skies, tonight our brightest star starts low in the southeast near 6 o’clock, and will be due south at 9:05 PM. You are watching Sirius, known commonly as the “Dog Star”, relatively close to us at only 8 light years away.
Jupiter’s pairing with the wide waxing Crescent Moon this evening actually shares an interesting connection with Valentine’s Day. Jupiter hosts many of its own moons, 95 by last count, most of which were named for Jupiter’s (and his Greek counterpart Zeus) lovers. While they were many, recent discoveries expanded the names to his daughters as well.