The gibbous Moon passes through Leo and Virgo as it waxes toward full, forming new Moon-and-stars "lunarisms" (patterns) each evening. Mercury begins a new apparition in the sunset. At dawn, Jupiter emerges to join the lineup of Venus, Mars, and Saturn.
What constellation trots behind Sirius and Canis Major across the southern sky? Puppis, not a puppy but the poop deck of Argo Navis. In this dark of the Moon, try for the Clown-Face Nebula high in Gemini. And the three dawn planets dance through two more isosceles triangles.
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.
The Winter Hexagon hosts the Moon. Then Castor and Pollux nail the Moon. Then the Little and Big Dog stars arc gracefully away from it. Meanwhile in early dawn, Mercury, Venus and Mars continue as a triangle low in the southeast.
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.