Watch the Moon Inside the Winter Hexagon

Image Credit: Vito Technology

On the nights from January 24 to 26, look for the bright waxing gibbous Moon in the sky. It will stay inside the Winter Hexagon — one of the most famous asterisms in the Northern Hemisphere. In today’s article, we’ll tell you more about the Winter Hexagon and how to find it on the skydome. We’ll also reveal the difference between a constellation and an asterism.

What is the Winter Hexagon (Winter Circle)?

The asterism is composed of seven luminous stars from six different constellations. They are:

  • Rigel in Orion;
  • Aldebaran in Taurus;
  • Capella in Auriga;
  • Procyon in Canis Minor;
  • Castor and Pollux in Gemini;
  • Sirius in Canis Major.

One more star lying toward the center of the asterism is Betelgeuse in Orion. The asterism covers an extensive area — about one-third of the skydome from the southernmost star in the Hexagon, Sirius, to the northernmost star, Capella.

The Winter Circle is mostly upon the Northern Hemisphere’s celestial sphere, adorns the sky from December to March, best visible around midnight. In the Southern Hemisphere, it can be seen in the evening in late February and early March; the asterism reaches its highest point in the sky at around 11 p.m. local time. It can appear as a summer hexagon in southern latitudes and can be extended with the bright star Canopus in the south.

The Moon inside the Winter Hexagon

In January the Moon will cross the luminous Winter Circle for the first, but not the last time this year. The next closest passes will happen in February and March and then at the end of 2021, our natural satellite will come back inside the asterism. Due to the movement of the Moon and stars, the Moon will meet the Hexagon a little sooner every month.

How to find the stars of the Winter Circle?

Where is the Winter Triangle?

  • Sirius in Canis Major;
  • Procyon in Canis Minor;
  • Betelgeuse in Orion (the Hexagon center).

What is the difference between a constellation and an asterism?

Patterns you see in the sky above mostly depend on your imagination. We only make it easier for you to find the stars those patterns consist of. Share with us on social media if you managed to find the luminous stars of the Winter Circle.

Wishing you clear skies and happy stargazing!

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