Now that we are past the Full Moon, the first part of the evening is dark, inviting a look due south close to 10 o’clock, where two medium-bright stars appear one third of the way up from the horizon. The one higher and a bit left is Zubeneschemali, which comes from the Arabic for “northern claw”, while to the lower right is Zubenelgenubi, or the “southern claw”, referring to the claws of the Scorpion.

All night, every night, the North Star is right where it always is – half way up, due north. Many are surprised that the North Star is not the brightest star in the heavens. It is not its brightness, but its location directly above the Earth’s North Pole that makes this the Pole Star. As the Earth spins on its axis, this star remains fixed in the same place, while the rest of the skies pivots around it.

The Big Dipper is beginning to drop a little into the northwestern skies from its position at the top of the sky in May. A Seneca Indian legend tells us that the bowl of the dipper is really a bear, with the closest star to the bowl a hunter with a bow and arrow. The middle star is a hunter with a cooking pot, and the third star is another hunter, gathering firewood to cook with.