Look high in the west for Pollux and Castor, the heads of the Gemini twins. They form the top of the enormous Arch of Spring. To their lower left is Procyon, the left end of the Arch. Farther to their lower right is brilliant Capella.
An amateur astronomer thought he had found the true identity of a mystery object identified — and then lost — in 1971.
Venus continues to shine high in the west at nightfall for many weeks on end. But as the season advances, its starry background slides toward the lower right behind it. For instance not long ago the Pleiades were very high above it, but as of this evening they're 20° apart.
Venus shines near the Moon and Betelgeuse is brightening again — find other night sky sights in this week's roundup.
Betelgeuse remains dim. The red supergiant Betelgeuse in Orion's shoulder has always been slightly variable, but for the last month or so it's been in an unusually low dip. As of January 22nd it was still about visual magnitude +1.5 instead of its more typical +0.5, It's clearly fainter than similarly-colored Aldebaran, magnitude +0.9, with which it's often compared and normally outshines quite obviously.
Is your sky dark enough for you to see the winter Milky Way? In mid-evening now it runs vertically up and across the zenith: from Canis Major low in the southeast, up between Orion and Gemini, through Auriga and Perseus almost straight overhead, and down through Cassiopeia, Cepheus, and Cygnus to the northwest horizon.