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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

January 12: Beta Ceti

Cetus, the whale or sea monster, is in the south and southwest at nightfall. Its brightest star, Beta Ceti, is the second-brightest star in a wide swath of sky. It’s outshined only by Fomalhaut, which is quite low at that hour.

January 11: Camelopardalis

Camelopardalis, the giraffe, is one of the largest constellations, covering a big wedge of the northern sky. But it isn’t very bold. All of its stars are so faint that you need to get away from city lights to see them.

January 10: Moon and Planets

The Moon and two bright planets form a beautiful triangle at dawn tomorrow. Brilliant Jupiter stands to the right of the Moon, with fainter orange Mars close below them.

January 9: Vanishing Venus

Venus will pass behind the Sun today, so it is lost from view in the Sun’s glare. It will return to view next month, when it will shine as the brilliant Evening Star.

January 8: Last-Quarter Moon

The Moon is at last quarter today at 4:25 p.m. CST. Sunlight will illuminate half of the lunar hemisphere that faces Earth. The illuminated fraction will continue growing smaller until the Moon is new, on January 16.

January 7: Taurus

Taurus, the bull, passes high overhead this evening. Its brightest stars form a long, thin wedge, with its brightest star, orange Aldebaran, at its southeastern corner. Taurus is at its highest around 9 p.m.

January 6: Orion’s Belt

Orion is in the eastern sky at nightfall. Its three-star belt points straight up from the horizon, with Orion’s other bright stars arrayed to its left and right. From top to bottom, the stars of the belt are Mintaka, Alnilam, and Alnitak.