Orion is an easy target, even on a moonlit night. Tonight, the lack of moonlight might give you an opportunity to see a fainter feature of our winter Giant. Look below his three belt stars, where a fainter line marks his sword. The very end of the sword is a little fuzzy, because it is not a star but a vast region of glowing gas and dust, called a nebula.

By 8:30 PM this evening, the “twin” stars of Gemini appear quite high in the east-southeast, two-thirds of the way up from the horizon, and ride very high across the southern skies. Pollux, a bit brighter and on the lower left, and Castor, on the upper right, are named for the sons of the Greek god Zeus and his mortal lover, Leda.

The most distant object human eyes can see, the Andromeda galaxy, appears as a faint smudge of light, one half of the way above the west-northwest horizon, as twilight ends after 7 o’clock this evening. It appears between the stars of Andromeda, and her mother, Cassiopeia. A pair of binoculars will help.