Skywatch: Use the "Big Dipper" to help you find the North Star


When you look into the sky this week look to the north and you might find the North Star or Polaris. This important star sits nearly at the North Pole.

As a result, it remains fixed as the Earth turns below it. This star is a great way to get your bearings if you’re ever out at night.

Because it helps you locate which way is north the other cardinal directions can be deduced once you find it. Just look for the famous asterism known as the “Big Dipper”. The two stars that form the outside of the cup point to Polaris.

The innermost planet will be easy to spot this week climbing high into the sky by Thursday night. Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation on Thursday morning.

As a result, the planet will be bright and fairly high in the sky. This week it’ll be particularly easy to spot as Venus will be just below and left of Mercury. You can use the bright planet to help you find the two.

If stargazing seems a little easier this week (provided the skies clear) there’s a good reason for it.

The moon will wane to a New Moon through the week officially becoming a New Moon at 9:12 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Enjoy a cut back in the light pollution when you glance up to the heavens. Happy hunting!