Looking east-southeast this evening, a waxing Gibbous Moon appears next to the head of Virgo. Between 8:15 and 8:45 PM, as we transition from twilight to dark, you’ll see Virgo’s brightest star, Spica, well to the lower left, about one quarter of the way up in the southeast.

The predicted peak of the annual Lyrids Meteor Shower in the hours after midnight tonight, as they Earth passes through the debris of Comet Thatcher, last seen in 1861, but not due to return until 2283. However, any increasing frequency of visible meteors will meet with an increasingly bright moon, now a waxing gibbous, but just 2 days short of being full.

The increasing light of the Moon, while spoiling the Lyrid Meteor Shower, leaves the brighter stars to admire, including Arcturus, emerging from the twilight, due east, about one third of the way up from the horizon at 9:30 this evening. Its pale orange color indicates it is a red giant star, a preview of what our Sun will do some 4 to 5 billion years from now.