There is currently a waxing (growing larger) gibbous (more than half lit) moon, which will be full next Tuesday.

If you look directly south at 8 p.m. tonight, you will see the nine-day- old moon 37 degrees above the horizon. Just below the moon and to its right (west) is Antares at the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion.

Antares is a magnificent supergiant red star 550 light-years away. It is the 15th-brightest star in the sky and one of the largest known stars. It will be somewhat dimmed by the close-by bright moon, so try to look at it when the moon is out of the way.

There are many star clusters and nebulae close to Antares visible with binoculars or a small telescope, and the Milky Way goes through the tail portion of Scorpius. The moon's path around the sky takes it close to Antares nearly every month, and occasionally the moon actually covers (occults) Antares.

Friday night the moon will have grown larger and moved eastward to sit above Sagittarius the Archer. Scorpius actually resembles a scorpion, while it is very hard to imagine Sagittarius being an Archer. It has eight bright stars that look like a teapot, with its spout composed of three stars to our right (west) and its handle composed of four stars to our left (east). Its top points north and is a triangle composed of the top stars of the spout and handle plus a single star at its apex.

The heart of the Milky Way runs right through Sagittarius. Both Sagittarius and Scorpius are must-see parts of the sky from a dark site on a moonless night.

Also, take a look at the pre-dawn morning sky in the east around 4:30 to 5 a.m. Orion, Gemini and blazing Sirius low along the horizon foretell our winter evening skies.

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