A Star Gazing moment.
South West Florida, All times are in EST.
With the mayhem of the Fiscal Cliff and the rush of the Holidays OVER (at least for now) it’s time to make time and do some things to de-compress… Things like.. take a walk in the woods at a favorite nature preserve, visit a museum, or perhaps just take time out to go outside and look up at the night sky. Yes, just walk over, turn off that blithering TV, and go outside and look up and relax in a lawn chair or on the ground.
If you don’t have a good view of the night sky where you are, consider visiting a Planetarium, a State Park, or a local Observatory to Star Gaze from. Go outside around 8pm and look East you’ll see three bright stars that make up Orion’s Belt all arranged neatly, (from our perspective anyway) in a row. They are from bottom to top, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. The bright visibly reddish looking star in the shoulder of Orion is Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse is one of the largest stars known, with a diameter over 650 times that of the Sun! (It’s overhead by 11pm.)
By 7:30pm as the evening has progressed and these constellations rise higher in the sky go outside again and look for another bright star Sirius, in the Constellation of Canis Major – this is Orion’s dog. Sirius is also called the Dog Star. An easy way to find Sirius is to take the belt stars of Orion and draw a line down toward the horizon. Bright Sirius is overhead by midnight. At 9:49pm the brightest “Star” overhead from Orion is not a star at all but the planet Jupiter nestled up in the V shape of the horns of Taurus the bull.
Below Star Chart image credit is SkySafari for the Mac.