February 12th – now, where was I? Ah yes, Orion. The trouble with Orion is it’s so bewitching at this time of year, it stops you from progressing to the next constellation. Once you’ve achieved the triumph of spotting it, once you’ve found your way round the neighbourhood (Sirius, Jupiter etc.,), you just want to come back to it. Conditions have hardly been perfect out East in the last few weeks. The snow hasn’t brought many clear nights.
But the other night I decided I needed to graduate on to my next constellation. Was there something wrong with me – how come I was struggling to find Auriga. The late great Sir P. Moore stressed how bright the stars were in his Guide to the Night Sky. Now I finally realised what the problem was. Auriga is right overhead. To spend any time looking at it, you either give yourself back ache or neck ache – and it’s hardly been the weather to lie down on the ground.
So here’s my tip. If you are looking at a group of stars and you nearly fall over from straining to look up 180 degrees, you’re looking at Auriga. And it’s worth it.