The southern skies don’t have much for stars to boast about, with a number of faint constellations. On the other hand, the First Quarter Moon puts on a temporary show with the iconic Saturn, famous for its broad, icy band of rings, found to the Moon’s right. The latest research suggests these rings are temporary, and may disappear in a few hundred million years.
The early arrivals of winter’s bright stars are found in the east. Look in the east-northeast at 8:15 to find the twins stars of Gemini easing up into the sky. Castor leads the way, followed by his brother Pollux. Although they are considered twins in mythology, these two stars are not related, or close to one another, and Pollux is noticeably brighter.
The mid-winter stars rise earlier each evening, as the Earth makes its appointed journey around the Sun. By 9 o’clock, the familiar stars of Orion are in the east, and are joined by the bright star Procyon, just rising at 9:00 PM EST. This is the dominant star in the constellation Canis Minor, the Little Dog.