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.
Rising at sunset, though not visible until closer to 6 o’clock, the mighty Jupiter reaches opposition, located directly opposite the Sun from the Earth. This also places us as close as we get to Jupiter, giving us our best and brightest views of the largest planet in the Solar System. Jupiter is so large, in fact, that ALL the other planets, and ALL their moons would fit inside Jupiter, with room to spare.