Above the wide waxing Crescent Moon, Saturn shines as best it can through the Moon’s glow, while well to their lower left, the wonderfully bright star Fomalhaut appears in its usual anonymity. In spite of ranking as the 13th brightest star we can see, Fomalhaut’s far southerly track across the sky, and its lack of bright companions, leaves it in relative obscurity.

As we approach the shortest day of the year, the Big Dipper is showing signs of encouragement for those not enjoying the lack of daylight. By mid-evening, the Dipper is starting to lift a little higher in to the northeast, and by February will look like a question mark, begging the question, “When is spring?”

Look for the First Quarter Moon to be shining moderately high and due south at 6 o’clock this evening, which is the direction in which the First Quarter Moon always appears. Because the Moon is one “quarter” of the way through its monthly orbit around the Earth, a quarter of that circle would be half way between the western and eastern horizon.