by Shell Selvans
Blessed New Moon! In the coming week or two, we welcome you to go outside with your family at 8:00PM or later and get to know the stars better. Since the equinox has come and gone, getting out a little later than you have been will be your ticket to seeing the stars in their full glory!
Facing north, but in part looking straight overhead, you will again recognize the Big Dipper, part of the Great Bear, and the Little Bear with fixed Polaris at its tail end (see February's post for details).
To the west, if you get out at dusk, you will just catch Venus above the horizon. These are some of her last days as an 'evening star' for many months!
Facing south, the constellation Orion and star Sirius continue to dominate the surrounding stars with their brightness (see January's post for details). In addition to Orion's belt, see if you can pick out a few more details of this hunter: one shoulder is the red giant Betelgeuse, and a foot is the blue giant Rigel. And faintly, in an arc pointing away from Sirius, you might make out the curve of his bow!
Sirius is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, or Big Dog, who walks with the hunter through the night. They have another companion, the Little Dog (Canis Minor): you can find Procyon, the brightest star of the Little Dog, if you go up along the side of Orion from Sirius (parallel to the line between Betelgeuse and Rigel). If you have a dog you're fond of, maybe you can find a few stars nearby just for them!
The following star chart can help you find the details of Orion and his dogs:
Make sure to line the direction printed on the edge of it up with the direction you're facing! After 10:00PM, the stars will have rotated a bit from where they're shown. Also, you might want to find your own chart if you are on our Mother Earth somewhere other than the contiguous 48 states of the United States, or a similar latitude.
Blessed be your stargazing!
If you enjoyed this and would like to connect deeper with the stars, our magical community and the children of the world, please join CAYA Sprouts in our monthly Children of Promise New Moon working!