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.
The Big Dipper is beginning to drop a little into the northwestern skies from its position at the top of the sky in May. A Seneca Indian legend tells us that the bowl of the dipper is really a bear, with the closest star to the bowl a hunter with a bow and arrow. The middle star is a hunter with a cooking pot, and the third star is another hunter, gathering firewood to cook with.
Near 1 o’clock tomorrow morning, night owls should look to the east-southeast, where a waning Gibbous Moon rises well to the right of our distant planetary cousin Saturn. They remain low as they climb into the southeast by 4 o’clock, as the twilight signals the end of our short night. Well to the left and even lower in the east, Jupiter returns to view for early risers.