Four morning planets are visible. Before 6 a.m. the celestial lineup changes in the southeast. The waning moon rises between silver Saturn (above) and brighter Mercury (below). Aim binoculars/cameras to Comet Ison 10 degrees lower left of Mercury. The star Spica, in Virgo, follows kite-shaped Corvus, Crow, higher in the southeast. Leo, Lion crawls overhead. Ruddy Mars follows the Lion. The Big Dipper rises higher in the northeast. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. The end of the Little Dipper's handle is Polaris.
Bright Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles in the northeast. Westbound Jupiter, surrounded by its closest satellite moons, glows near the Gemini Twins. The dim Beehive star cluster shimmers below the Twins. Orion, Hunter, chases Taurus, Bull, onto the western horizon. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in the southwest, followed by the Pups in the south. Procyon, Little Dog, lingers in the west. The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Aldebaran in the V-shaped Hyades cluster westward. The Royal Family: King Cepheus, Queen Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Perseus swing low in the northwest. Capella leads Auriga, Charioteer, into the northwest.
New moon occurs at 7:22 p.m. At dusk Venus glows above the handle of the tilted Sagittarian Teapot near the southwestern horizon. Venus sets about 8:30 p.m. Dim blue Neptune, in Aquarius, follows Capricornus the Sea Goat, in the southwest. Blue-green Uranus sails across the south in Pisces, Fish. Cetus, Whale, swims below Uranus. Mid-evening, bright Jupiter glows in the east-northeast, on the right of the Gemini Twins: Castor and Pollux. The dim Beehive cluster (200 stars) shimmers below the Twins. Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, across the northeast. The Seven Sisters (500 stars in the Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull higher in the east. The red giant star Aldebaran (Bull's red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (200+ stars comprise the Bull's face). The winter star clusters are spectacular in binoculars!
Gigantic Orion, Hunter climbs higher in the east in pursuit of the Bull. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion's Big Dog in the southeast. Vega leads the Summer Triangle lower in the northwest. Cygnus, Swan, becomes the Northern Cross.
About 6 a.m. aim binoculars to northbound Comet Ison 10 degrees left of Mercury low in the southeast.
At dusk, the young moon floats 8 degrees above Venus in the southwest.
Early evening Venus becomes brightest for next two weeks in the southwest.
Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375, scas.org