Look Up! ... Orion Rules the Winter Night

Hello Night Sky Travelers,
January 30, 1:38pm PST marked the beginning of a new lunar cycle that ends February 28, 11:59pm PST.

Lunar Theme: Trust "This New Moon lies in mid-sidereal Capricorn ... This specific few degree area of Capricorn is specifically about having Trust in the unseen, in that which lies behind the superficial, and with that trust, establishing an inner balance while applying our assets and strategies in life." Click the lunar theme link for more insights by Nick Fiorenza.

Second new moon of this month. Black Moon. Supermoon. Some call the New Moon of January 30 a Black or Ebony Moon, because it is the second New Moon in January. This Moon also happens to be a Supermoon.

Jan. 31, Friday, inauguarates the Chinese New Year of the Wood Horse, "notorius" for historical turning points.

Jan. 31-Feb. 2, Friday-Sunday, a slim waxing Crescent Moon passes Mercury in the west-southwest after sundown. 1/31-2/2 Dusk Map ~ 2/1 Map/Text Look to Mercury low on the horizon. This messenger sets about 90 minutes after the Sun. Mercury the Messenger of the gods may have a Chinese New Year message for you!

The waxing Crescent Moon brings up obstacles from the past that can impede the new incoming energies and one's growth in consciousness. The work to overcome these obstacles begins with this lunar phase.

Candlemass is the astronomical halfway point between Solstice and Equinox, a cross-quarter day. Generally it is celebrated on February 2. In 2014 it is exact on February 3, Monday.

Orion Gives Birth ~ Rules the Winter Night

Image: NASA / JPL–Caltech / STScI

Orion the Hunter gives birth to stars! This Spitzer/Hubble infrared and visible-light composite shows an artistic masterpiece of turbulent and chaotic energies that baby stars are creating 1,500 light years away in the Orion Nebula. Four monstrously massive stars, collectively known as the Trapezium located at the center of this cosmic cloud may be the main culprits of this gorgeous chaos. "These behemoths are approximately 100,000 times brighter than our sun." JPL

[This] image from NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes looks more like an abstract painting than a cosmic snapshot. … It was "painted" by hundreds of baby stars on a canvas of gas and dust, with intense ultraviolet light and strong stellar winds as brushes. NASA's Full Caption / Description

The Orion Nebula is the nearest star formation region to the Earth and consequently particularly well studied. Despite this, star formation is not all that well understood. astro.nineplanets.org

More than half of the 25 brightest stars appear overhead in the winter sky making it the brightest night sky of all the seasons.

It is no coincidence that the brightest stars congregate here [the winter sky], for this is where many stellar nurseries reside, including the marvelous Orion Nebula (M42). Massive stars begin their lives in such cocoons and burn most brightly. Scan this region with binoculars to see one marvel after another. Astronomy Magazine 2/03

The Orion Nebula (M42) is easily visible as a fuzzy star with the unaided eye.

Everyone loves Orion's bright stars but it is one of his dimmer stars that will blow you away. Face southeast in the early evening and below Orion's three belt stars you'll see three dimmer stars which make up his sword. But no matter how sharp your eyesight the middle star always seems to look fuzzy, out of focus. [Image] That's because it isn't a star at all but a humongous cosmic cloud of gas and dust where new stars are being born. We call it the Orion Nebula and there is enough material here to produce over ten thousand stars the size of our Sun. Indeed, this nebula is so huge we could line up 20,000 of our solar systems end to end from one edge of it to the other. How's that for a fuzzy little star? Star Gazer

All of February, hour-glass shaped Orion lies high in the South from 7:00pm - 9:00pm. By 11:00pm this giant Hunter can be seen above the western horizon.

The three belt stars of Orion, which represent the Three Wise Men, point to Aldebaran our star of enlightenment and to Sirius our spiritual Sun. Helpful Map In addition, Jupiter lies to the left (North) of Orion's shoulder star, Betelgeuse, throughout February. Feb. Map

It is said that Jupiter transmits cosmic forces into our solar system. Jupiter bridges, fuses and blends, freeing us from duality. This giant planet expands our hearts and minds bringing out the best in all, producing wisdom and the externalization of the Divine Plan in our solar system.

Feb. 9-12 Sunday-Wednesday, the waxing Gibbous Moon dances near Jupiter.
2/9 Map/Text ~ 2/10 Map ~ 2/11 Maps/Text ~ 2/12 Maps/Text

This lunar phase offers illumination and growth,
only if the obstacles from the past are cleared away.
Imagine the light of Jupiter and Luna touching the hearts and minds of humanity.

Look Up! Ponder on and be receptive to these breath-taking and extraordinary celestial winter energies. Trust in the unseen energies that stream forth from these heavenly bodies. They can expand your consciousness with new insights and visions.

Hmmm ... Are you able to find Jupiter, Orion, the Winter Triangle and the Great Winter Hexagon on this map and then in the night sky? The links below are a helpful guide for the traveler of the night sky.

Navigating with Orion

Orion's shoulder star is our Valentine's star!

Orion's shoulder star is a point of the equilateral Winter Triangle.

Orion's left leg is a point of the Great Winter Hexagon.

Orion's belt stars have nifty names.

Orion and His Rival

Jupiter's 4 largest moons can be seen in a dark sky with binoculars.

The Planets
Mercury lies low on the WSW horizon just after sunset.
Red Mars rises in the SE by10:30pm, easily seen near blue Spica at 1:00am.
Saturn rises about 1:00am in the SE, easily seen an hour before sunrise.
Venus blazes in the SE morning sky, rising 2 hrs. before the Sun.
Jupiter rules the winter night, as discussed above.
See Night Sky Info for finder charts and more info on each planet.

EarthSky Tonight ... nightly highlights/maps
This Week's Sky at a Glance ... weekly highlights/maps

Rise and Set Times
Rise/Set/Transit Times ~ Major Bodies
Use this link to find exact times for the
planets, Sun and Moon in your area.


This lunar cycle is preparing us for a year of historical turning points. Tune into and trust in the essential essence evolving the form life. Establish your inner balance.

Where am I drawn to "break the rules" of my conditioning?
Is there a restlessness within me and what is that voice?
What is the vision that I wish to translate into my present reality?
- Jacqueline Lasahn / New Moon

As Spirit directs we move fluidly between the polarities, now choosing to use them for Spiritual evolution. - Aquarius Festival Global Meditation

Join the folks at SouledOut.org for the Aquarius Festival Global Meditation.


Look Up! ... Look Within,
Susan Sun at The Night Sky