Fri., Jan. 21 7:03 4:43
Sat., Jan. 22 7:02 4:44
Sun., Jan. 23 7:01 4:45
Mon., Jan. 24 7:01 4:46
Tues., Jan. 25 7:00 4:48
Wed., Jan. 26 6:59 4:49
Thurs., Jan. 27 6:58 4:50
Fri., Jan. 28 6:57 4:51
In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the gibbous moon appears near the distant ringed-planet Saturn. The two are in the zodiacal constellation Virgo and rise after midnight. For those who haven’t seen Saturn, the moon acts as a perfect guide. Saturn is 892 million miles away, while the moon is much closer at 232,000 miles.
There is a third object in the sky, nearby, a star. This is Spica, the brightest star in Virgo.
Virgo is a constellation most often associated with spring nights. Bootes, the shepherd constellation is also rising in the northeast with its bright orange star Arcturus. For those who venture outside in the cold early hours of morning, after midnight, spring is present. Orion, the hunter, a constellation we associate with winter, is setting in the west.
The Big Dipper, also called Ursa Major, is right overhead. The handle of the Dipper points to Arcturus in Bootes. The two bright stars marking the outer edge of the bowl of the dipper, point to the North Star. Spring is not far away.
Venus, the brightest planet in our sky, rises in the southeast more than an hour before sunrise. For most of this year, the planet is our morning “star.” Venus resides this month in the southern zodiacal constellation Scorpius.