Tomorrow or Tuesday morning offer your best, last views of Mercury, as it starts to lower back into the Sun’s glare, best viewed from 6:25 to 6:40 AM, low in the southeast. Mercury’s swifter orbit takes it around and behind the Sun, though it won’t reach Superior Conjunction (directly behind the Sun) until the end of February.

The brilliant bluish-white star Vega, appearing one quarter of the way above the northwest horizon as darkness settled in by 5:30 PM, does an interesting thing for the next month or so. It will set tonight about 8:15 PM far to the north. But it will rise again 5 hours later at 1:10 AM, climbing into the northeast.

While Orion’s Belt stands out as it rises higher into the southeast during the evenings, more impressive might be the stars themselves. Each of these stars is a stellar powerhouse, the two outer stars more than 100 thousand times brighter than our Sun, and the middle star perhaps 500 thousand times brighter!