The steely blue star rising in the north-northeast, low but due northeast at 10:20 PM, is Vega, from the German “Wega”, and from the Arabic “Al Wika”, the “swooping or diving eagle”. In modern times it is the brightest star in Lyra, the Lyre, a harp-like instrument, home to the meteor showers over the next few nights.

This evening at 9 o’clock, looking due south and just slightly to the left, you see the brightest star in Leo, the Lion. Regulus reigns above a large but much less prominent constellation, that of the Water Snake, named Hydra. The snake’s head appears as a collection of stars half-way between Regulus, and Procyon, midway up in the southwest. The snake’s body curves back and forth to the lower left.

The waxing crescent moon follows the setting sun toward the evening horizon, starting about one third of the way above the west, just after 8 o’clock, but remains visible until it sets about 11:30 PM. Flanking our celestial neighbor you’ll see the reddish star Aldebaran, the brightest start in Taurus to its left, and by the Pleiades to its lower right.