As the winter Milky Way rides high, open star clusters near and far, and from compact to sparse, await your binoculars or telescope, At dawn catch the Venus-Mars pair, and try for the closer Mercury-Saturn pair lower down.
With the Moon gone from the evening sky, trace out Monoceros the Unicorn walking behind Orion. Spot the famous binocular star clusters at his eye and horn-tip, and don't miss M41 under Sirius. Meanwhile, the waning Moon, passes Venus, Mars and Mercury at dawn.
This is the part of the month when the evening Moon is at its telescopic best in many skywatchers' opinions, as the terminator sweeps across the middle of the Moon's disk. And in February, the Moon at these phases rides especially high. Jupiter sinks low in evening twilight, and a triangle of planets displays in early dawn.
The Winter Triangle, the Goat Star and the Kids, Orion nearing his peak standing on the giant Hare over the difficult Dove... there's plenty to occupy you in the evening even as most of the planets have migrated over to dawn.
As the calendar flips to a new year, the night sky brims with bright stars, planets, and a potential meteor shower to help you celebrate.
Tour 15 of the sky's brightest stars all in one night on this New Year's Eve! This interactive Worldwide Telescope video will show you the way.
Crescent Venus, ever thinner and lower in twilight, dives toward the Sun. Jupiter and Saturn bide their time. The bright winter constellations fill the east after dark. Mars and Antares pair up at dawn.
Venus presents a stunning crescent at dusk before switching over to the morning sky early next month. After dodging the Moon for the Geminids, it's dark skies all around for the Quadrantid meteor shower.