Today the Earth is at perihelion, its closest approach to the Sun, measuring some 147,054,707 km, or 91,375,559 miles. That “slightly” nearer Sun reflects off a waning Moon as it rises late this evening, about 11:15 PM, just one day from its Last Quarter, when it appears above the bluish-whit star Spica.

One of the most prolific meteor showers of the year often goes unnoticed by northern observers. The Quadrantid Meteor Shower produces as many as 100 meteors per hour, but only during a short window, this year midnight until 6:00 AM. The bright Last Quarter Moon will interfere with viewing.

Night owls might find the pairing of the Last Quarter Moon and the bluish-white star Spica a “hoot” in the hours after midnight. Rising in the east-southeast by 1:25 AM, they take their time climbing into the east. They continue to due south near 6:30 AM, and then fade in brightening twilight as the rising Sun takes over the skies after 7:30 AM. They meet again at month’s end.