The Big Dipper, found dangling by its handle in the northwest, is known by a number of other names. In England, as well as parts of eastern Europe, it is called the Plough, lowering into the north each fall to till in the crops, as well as a cart or wagon wheeling around the northern sky.
At 10:15 this evening, the Scorpion’s tail is due south, extremely low above the horizon, yet even so, at its best viewing of the year. As the tail curls up to the left, the star on the end is called Shaula, from the Arabic meaning either “stinger” or “raised”, as in poised to sting.
By 9 o’clock, lowering into the southwest, the Moon, just one day shy of its First Quarter, pairs up with the normally bright star Spica. They appear about one quarter of the way up from a level horizon, edging lower through the evening, not setting until well after 11 o’clock. They will pair up again 27 days from now, the time for the Moon to orbit the Earth.