Orion is now slipping slowly into the southwest, found about one third of the way up from the horizon around 8:30 PM EST this evening. The bright star below his three belt stars, Rigel, remains distinct. A stellar powerhouse, Rigel generates 120,000 times more light than our Sun, but at a distance of nearly 900 light years.

With all the other visible planets in the neighborhood of the Sun, Jupiter remains our only planetary cousin offering a fairly decent view. However, its emergence from the twilight between 7:30 and 8 o’clock, one quarter of the way up in the west, is part of its curtain call. Each evening it slips lower, and becomes lost in the Sun’s glare by month’s end.

The bright winter stars of Orion, along with his celestial companions, Taurus the Bull to the right, and his hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor to the left, are now stretching out above the southwest horizon, preparing their farewells through the month. Like Jupiter, seen to their right, close to due west as twilight fades after 8 o’clock, they edge lower each night through the month.