Mercury and low Venus adorn the west after sunset, with the crescent Moon soon to join them. Night brings the big Diamond of Virgo and Summer Triangle. Nova Cassiopeiae rebrightens. And Comet Atlas is in evening view with a 6-inch telescope.
Mars is passing the Pleiades. Sirius and Canis Major take over the early-evening meridian from Orion. And low in the dawn, Jupiter closes in on Mercury.
Once the night is fully dark, spot the equilateral Winter Triangle in the southeast. Sirius is its brightest and lowest star. Betelgeuse stands above Sirius by about two fists at arm's length. To the left of their midpoint is Procyon. Compare their colors!
Right after dark, face east and look very high. The bright star there is Capella, the Goat Star. To the right of it, by a couple of finger-widths at arm's length, is a small, narrow triangle of 3rd- and 4th-magnitude stars known as "the Kids." Though they're not exactly eye-grabbing, they form a never-forgotten asterism with Capella.
Bright Capella high overhead, and equally bright Rigel in Orion's foot, have almost the same right ascension. This means they cross your sky’s meridian at almost exactly the same time. So whenever Capella passes the zenith, Rigel marks true south, and vice versa. That happens around 9 or 10 p.m. now.
Twilight challenge: the planet-conjunction finale! Jupiter and Saturn are becoming ever harder to pick up low in bright twilight, but bring those binoculars on Saturday Jan. 9th. Because then they'll be three! Mercury is emerging to join them. It will pass by them for a couple more days.
Jupiter and Saturn remain close together low in the southwest in twilight, though they're widening every day. They'll sink away into the sunset after New Year's.