Due south this evening at 9 o’clock, 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 steely blue star rising in the north-northeast, low but due northeast at 9:45 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.
With the waxing Crescent emerging from the twilight, well below the Seven Sisters, it presents no interference to viewing the first principle meteor shower of the year, the Lyrid Meteor Shower. An average of 10 to 20 “shooting stars” can be seen on a dark, clear night, best viewed after midnight. They’ll linger into tomorrow night as well.