Brilliant moonlight will hamper stargazers this evening, but the trio of bright stars marking Orion’s Belt should be easy to spot, due south in the evenings near 7:10 PM. The star on the left, Alnitak, is actually a triplet of stars, the two primary stars orbiting each other every 7 years, the larger of the two being 20 times larger, and 250 thousand times brighter than the Sun!

In the early evening, before the Moon rises after 7:30, four brilliant stars form a diamond-shaped figure halfway up in the south-southeast early this evening. At the bottom is Sirius, the very brightest star, while the orange-hued Betelgeuse shines at the top. The bluish-white Rigel sparkles on the right, with Procyon on the left.

Overnight tonight, the planet Mercury passes directly behind the Sun, a position called Superior Conjunction. A conjunction refers to any two celestial objects that pass within close proximity from our viewpoint, though, in reality, they can be millions of miles apart. Mercury re-emerges in the evenings during the middle and end of March.