As evening falls, you can’t miss brilliant Jupiter well up in the east at dusk. Mark your calendar for the evening of January 21st, when a waxing gibbous Moon will be stunningly close to Jupiter — in fact, it will actually cover the planet for much of South America.

Right now Jupiter easily outshines every nighttime star, and you can use it to navigate to several other interesting sights in that part of the sky. For example, the bright star just a little below Jupiter is a red giant called Aldebaran, and it marks the angry eye of Taurus, the Bull.

Jupiter among the Hyades

Jupiter spends this winter among the Hyades star cluster.

Sky & Telesope diagram

To Jupiter's upper left is Capella, a very bright star just 42 light-years away. It’s at the top-left corner of an irregular pentagon of stars that outlines the constellation Auriga.

Below Jupiter you’ll easily see the stars of Orion, the Hunter, striding up from the eastern horizon. Look in particular for a trio of bright stars in a vertical row. These mark Orion’s belt.

many more amazing sky sights await you on these New Year's evenings. To track them down, download January's 7-minute-long audio sky tour.


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