With so little snow on the ground, some outdoor enthusiasts are looking low and high for winter activities to take part in, and today would be a good day to look straight up.
The starry sky is now at its best with the most prominent stars being well placed high in the south: blue Rigel and red Betelgeuse in Orion, Sirius beneath it, Procyon to its left, Pollux and Castor higher up, Capella almost in the zenith, and Aldebaran and the Pleiades completing the splendor.
As research for my astronomy columns I'm reading "Celestial Delights: The best Astronomical events through 2010," by Reddy and Walz-Chojnacki, some specialized information if I talk about a certain subject, and I study the "Starfinder," a simple cardboard sky map that tells us where the stars are at any time during the night on any day during the year, every year.
The recurring spectacle starts between 7 and 8 p.m. every day in December. That's when a brilliant winter sky starts rising in the east: along with Orion's Betelgeuse and Rigel, its belt and sword, Canis Major's Sirius and Canis Minor's Procyon, Gemini's Castor and Pollux, Cancer's Praesepe cluster, Auriga's Capella, Taurus' Aldebaran, Hyades and Pleiades clusters, the planet Mars glows reddish among them.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.