This evening offers an opportunity to bid Saturn farewell to the evening skies until later in the year. In the twilight from 5:45 to 6 PM, the waxing Crescent Moon appears low in the west-southwest. Now look to its lower right, just above a relatively low, level view of the horizon, where a tiny spark of light is all that remains of Saturn. It passes behind the Sun at the end of the month.
Due south this evening at 9:05 PM EST is the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, the “nose” of Canis Major, the Great Dog. The path of all stars and planets creates an arc, with its highest point due south, placing Sirius in its best viewing position. The name Sirius comes from the Arabic word meaning “blazing one”.
On the next clear night, it should be quite easy to find the brightest star – the North Star, right? No! As you scan the skies, tonight our brightest star starts low in the southeast near 6 o’clock, and will be due south at 9:05 PM. You are watching Sirius, known commonly as the “Dog Star”, relatively close to us at only 8 light years away.