The “Winter Diamond” of four dazzling stars sits in the southeast this evening, featuring Betelgeuse at the top, its orange hue due to its tremendous size causing it to cool. The lowest star is the brightest, Sirius, the Dog Star. The other dog star, Procyon, appears on the left, while Orion’s foot, Rigel, gleams brilliantly to the right of Orion’s Belt.
Glowing brightly within the collection of Winter’s brightest stars, the waxing Gibbous Moon finds itself halfway up in the east at 6 o’clock, surrounded by Capella, high above, Aldebaran, the red eye of Taurus, the Bull, well right, while the even brighter Betelgeuse sits on Orion’s shoulder to the lower right. Finally, the Twins of Gemini await the Moon’s company to the lower left.
Venus is now in its slow transition into the Sun’s earlier morning arrival, gaining 10 minutes since the first of the year. Venus lingers low in the southeast through mid-February, when it briefly encounters Mars, and then spends spring and most of the summer lost behind the Sun. It waits until fall for a challenging evening view, lifting higher in December.