Tonight’s waxing gibbous moon – February 8, 2017 – will be bright enough to erase many stars from the blackboard of night. Even so, many stars will be brilliant enough to withstand tonight’s moonlit glare. Tonight, look for the Gemini stars, Castor and Pollux, plus Procyon the Little Dog Star. The moon passes south of Castor and Pollux, and north of Procyon, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor the Lesser Dog.
Look for the moon and these stars to reach their high point for the night somewhere around 10 to 11 p.m. local time (that’s the time on your clock, no matter where you live around the globe).
If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, please keep in mind that you’ll see the sky scene upside-down in your northern sky. In other words, you’ll see Procyon at top and the Gemini stars beneath the moon.
No matter where you live worldwide, however, each month the moon routinely passes to the south of the Gemini stars, Castor and Pollux, and to the north of Procyon, during the months these stars are visible in Earth’s sky. As the moon travels eastward in front of the constellations of the zodiac, it goes through this stellar passageway once every four weeks.
Bottom line: On the night of February 8, 2017, watch the moon pass to the south of the Gemini stars and to the north of Procyon.