The Moon and two bright planets highlight the early evening sky. Some bright stars climb into view later, with the brightest pinpoint of light in all the night sky taking over at dawn.
As the color of twilight fades into the darkness of night, look about a third of the way up the southwestern sky for Saturn. It looks like a bright star, but it’s really the second-largest planet in the solar system.
From there, shift your gaze to high in the southeast for the largest planet, Jupiter. It outshines every other planet and star in view this evening — a brilliant beacon that shines through most of the night.
The only light that outshines it is the gibbous Moon, low in the east-northeast. El Nath, at the tip of one of the horns of Taurus, the bull, is quite close to the Moon. And Aldebaran, the bull’s bright eye, lurks to the upper right of the Moon.
Two or three hours later, some other prominent stars add their luster to the canvas. The constellation Orion stretches across the east and southeast. It’s marked by its three-star belt, which extends straight up from the horizon. And if you follow the belt down toward the horizon, you’ll come to Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky.
Finally, as the pale glow of dawn starts to color the sky, the planet Venus shines low in the southeast. It’s the brilliant “morning star,” so you can’t miss it — a final bright decoration for the Christmas-night sky.
Script by Damond Benningfield