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.
Bright Jupiter and Saturn are almost as close together now as modest, 3rd-magnitude Alpha and Beta Capricorni above them. Wait for full dark to catch the faint stars.
Whenever Fomalhaut is "southing" (crossing the meridian due south), the first stars of Orion are just about to rise above the east horizon. And, the Pointers of the Big Dipper stand upright low due north, straight below Polaris.
After dark this week, Capella in the northeast. Look for the Pleiades three fists to Capella's right. After dark this week, Capella sparkles in the northeast. Look for the Pleiades about three fists to Capella's right. Early signs of winter constellations!
Full Moon and Mars for Halloween: The Moon rises in the east about a half hour after sunset on Saturday the 31st, depending on your location. That bright orange dot off to its upper right is Mars.