Skywatch: How Venus dominated the Cumbrian night sky

HERE is the latest Skywatch Column written by Stuart Atkinson.

It dominated the evening sky for the past couple of months, looking like a very bright “star” low in the south west after sunset, we’ve now lost Venus from the evening sky.

Over the next week or so it will move into the pre-dawn sky to become a “Morning Star” low in the north-east before sunrise.

If you have a pair of binoculars you’ll be able to see it as a tiny crescent, like a miniature version of the New Moon.

Venus might have gone but Mercury is now visible after sunset, looking like a copper-hued star low in the south west as twilight begins.

You’ll see it to the lower right of Saturn, which is itself to the lower right of Jupiter.

If you can’t see it with your naked eye sweeping the sky low in the SW with binoculars should bring it into view, but only after the Sun has set.

Once the sky is properly dark you’ll see Orion rising in the east. To the upper right of Orion’s famous “belt” you’ll see two famous star clusters.

One is shaped like a “V” on its side, and this is the Hyades cluster which represents the horns of Taurus, the Bull.

To the upper right of the Hyades you’ll see a small knot of silvery blue-white stars, about the size of your thumbnail held at arm’s length.

This is a very famous cluster called the Pleiades, or “Seven Sisters”.

It’s called that because people with good eyesight can see seven stars in the cluster, but binoculars reveal it contains around a hundred.

The Westmorland Gazette | North Lancs