Hallowe’en’s connection to astronomy comes from its position on the calendar, halfway between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice. This mid-point, known as a “cross-quarter day”, began the “dark” half of the year for Celtic people, ending on another season’s mid-point, May 1st, or May Day.
Vega, the brightest evening star, starts this night high in the west at 7 o’clock, and takes its time lowering through the northwest all evening, not setting until 2 o’clock tomorrow morning. Vega is bright, in part, because it is one of the closer stars to us, some 26 light years away, as well as cranking out 37 times as much light as our Sun.
Late this evening, a waning Gibbous Moon climbs into the northeast, but not alone. Night owls get an early look at one of Winter’s primary constellations, Gemini, the Twins, as they escort the Moon through the overnight hours. At 11 o’clock, look for this trio low in the east-northeast, while the champion of the winter skies, Orion, rises well to their right.