Winter star patterns and AstroBob’s favorite app

Winter star patterns with AstroBob

AstroBob talks about the wonders of our Winter stars, and the Stellarium mobile app.

Winter is a great time to view the night sky, and AstroBob has a few things to look for.

Right now, Jupiter is visible at dusk in the south. Venus and Mercury can be seen at dawn.

In the night sky, the brightest star pattern is called the Winter Hexagon.

Bob King suggests starting with the easily identifiable constellation Orion.

“You can find those belt stars in the evening, 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock, 10’clock, whenever,” he said. “Look up, and there’s Orion. And then use Orion to find additional bright stars that form a beautiful, very pronounced pattern called the Winter Hexagon.”

Orion is usually in the southeastern sky at this time of year.

King’s favorite app for identifying stars and constellations is called Stellarium.

“You hold it up to the nighttime sky, and it goes into live mode and it shows you what constellations you’re facing,” King said. “And if you point it down at the ground on cloudy nights, you can even see stars in the southern hemisphere. It sees right through the planet.”