The New Year’s Eve Sky

If you’re not out partying at midnight, and it’s clear where you are, step outside and take a look at the wonderful panorama that the sky is presenting at midnight.

The Midnight Sky
Click for a larger image

Mars is directly south at the midnight hour, shining with it’s ruddy light upon the winter scene. It is still the brightest object in the current night sky, barely beating out the star Sirius (which lies below Mars, to the lower left of the constellation Orion).

And even though Mars steals the show this year, the “star” of the New Years’ Eve sky belongs to the star Sirius.

Sirius is visible every night during the winter, and is the brightest star in the night sky. It makes it’s travels through the southern sky nightly, following the constellation Orion in the sky. Sirius, the “Dog Star” is part of the constellation “Canis Major”, or the “Big Dog.” The “Little Dog,” or “Canis Minor”, lies above Sirius between it and the constellation Gemini. These two constellations (Canis Major and Minor) are the two faithful dogs which help Orion as he hunts in the night sky.

But it is at midnight on New Years’ Eve that Sirius takes it’s prominent place in the sky.

On December 31st, Sirius reaches upper culmination (the highest point in it’s nightly travels in the sky) at midnight. Now, depending on your location in your local time zone, Sirius may or may not be exactly at its highest point, but on average it is. And, like the ball dropping in Time’s Square, the playing of “Auld Lang Zine”, the toasting of the New Year, Sirius comes by each and every year at this time.

So if it is clear, take your significant other outside and show them the wonderful night sky at midnight. And, while the strains of that classic song waft through the windows, share your New Years’ kiss under the stars. How can you beat that for a romantic setting?

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