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The Moon and two bright planets highlight the early evening sky. As twilight fades, look in the southwest for Saturn, which looks like a bright star. From there, look high in the southeast for brilliant Jupiter, far to the upper right of the almost-full Moon.
Christmas Eve night gets off to a beautiful start as the fat gibbous Moon pairs up with Aldebaran, the bright star that marks the eye of the celestial bull. Aldebaran will be a bit farther from the Moon as they set, before dawn.
The stars offer a holiday decoration this evening: the Northern Cross, which is also known as Cygnus, the swan. Its brightest stars form the shape of a cross, which is in the west and northwest at nightfall.
Jupiter is close to the right of the gibbous Moon as darkness falls tonight. It looks like a brilliant star, although it’s really the largest planet in the solar system, at roughly 11 times Earth’s diameter.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula — a glowing bubble of gas expelled by a dying star — is several thousand light-years away, in Draco, the dragon. The nebula is in the north-northwest at nightfall. Seen through a telescope or in images, it does resemble a glowing cat’s eye.