A Great Time of Year for Stargazing
Last Saturday evening around 8:00 my husband and I looked up at the sky from our back yard and picked out 9 constellations.
This is a great time of year to go stargazing because it is not so cold in the evenings, it gets dark fairly early, and you see the winter evening constellations and also some of spring evening constellations, at least those which are high in the sky.
First of all we picked out Orion, standing so tall and stately, with the three bright stars of his belt and the two in his shoulders and two in his legs. We could see the “sword hanging from his belt”–the Great Orion Nebula. We used the bright reddish star (not as bright as usual) in Orion’s right shoulder to find the winter triangle, composed of Betelgeuse, Procyon, and Sirius. Procyon is the bright star in the constellation Little Dog and Sirius is in the Big Dog.
Slightly above Orion and to his right side, we could see the two bright stars in the heads of Gemini, the twins, and also one or two stars in their legs. On Orion’s other side we found the fuzzy spot, Pleiades (the six sisters), and nearby the bright star Aldebaran belonging to Taurus, the bull. Above them lies the slightly misshapen hexagon of Auriga, sometimes called the Charioteer.
Then looking high in the sky we found Cassiopeia and Perseus. We could see the Big Dipper but not the faint stars of the Little Dipper.
The next clear night go outside and see what you can see. Take Uncle Al’s Star Wheel and a little flashlight to read it, if you need to.