Just as darkness settles in by 10 o’clock, and before the light of the nearly Full Moon washes across the sky by 10:30, look due north, where Polaris, the North Star is exactly north, and half way up in the skies. Now look above it, where a pair of medium bright stars represent “north stars” from a bygone era. The brighter of the two is Kochab, the lesser Pherkad, called the “guardians of the Pole Star”

Now that we are past the Full Moon, the first part of the evening is dark, inviting a look due south close to 10 o’clock, where two medium-bright stars appear one third of the way up from the horizon. The one higher and a bit left is Zubeneschemali, which comes from the Arabic for “northern claw”, while to the lower right is Zubenelgenubi, or the “southern claw”, referring to the claws of the Scorpion.

All night, every night, the North Star is right where it always is – half way up, due north. Many are surprised that the North Star is not the brightest star in the heavens. It is not its brightness, but its location directly above the Earth’s North Pole that makes this the Pole Star. As the Earth spins on its axis, this star remains fixed in the same place, while the rest of the skies pivots around it.