Due east at 7:55 PM EST, two thirds up in the sky is the star Algol, which is Arabic for the “evil one”. Ancient people considered the star evil because it was not always the same brightness. Since stars were part of heaven and therefore perfect, any star not perfect was evil. Modern tele-scopes show it is really two stars, one bright, and one dim that occasionally blocks the light of the brighter star.

On the next clear evening near 7:15 PM, crossing the zenith you’ll perhaps find the Andromeda Galaxy, the most distant object viewable with the un-aided eye, but quite a challenge. Binoculars will help, and show a bit more, but its distance of 2.5 million light years means only special photography can reveal some of its details.

This evening’s sunset is the earliest of the year. Although mornings will continue to arrive a few minutes later through the end of the month, the evenings will start, almost imperceptibly, to extend just a minute to two longer. The balance between them still leaves December 21st as the shortest daylight hours of the year.