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Keep Your Eyes on Leo

Constellation joins moon and Jupiter, hosts meteors

As twilight gives way to darkness, look for Mars low in the south-southwest. At first magnitude, the red planet is no brighter than your average star, so scouring the horizon with binoculars may help you find it. Can you make out the teapot shape of Sagittarius below? Mars is just above the handle, while the spout points toward the now-set sun.
    Jupiter rises in the east-southeast a little before midnight, and by 6am it is almost directly overhead. Early Friday morning it is less than 10 degrees above the last-quarter moon. Saturday the moon is just below Aldebaran, the heart of Leo the lion. Sunday Jupiter, Regulus and the moon form a near-straight line, each roughly 10 degrees apart.
    The following nights, the moon shifts eastward compared to Jupiter and Regulus, until Wednesday a thin crescent rises before dawn with blue-white Spica just three degrees away.
    The waning moon shouldn’t interfere with the peak of this year’s Leonid meteor shower in the wee hours Tuesday morning. With clear, dark skies you may see 15 to 20 meteors in a given hour. The meteors can appear anywhere in the sky, but traced back they appear to emanate from the shower’s namesake, Leo.