Make the most of the warm summer evenings to locate the faint Andromeda galaxy trailing behind Pegasus (winged horse) before it sets into the north-western horizon. Using binoculars to view Pleiades (isiLimela) in the north-east just below Aries (ram) reveals an impressive open cluster of stars. In African starlore, the appearance of these ‘digging stars’ in Southern Africa heralded the start of the growing season.
The summer constellations Taurus (bull) and Orion (hunter) return to our evening skies, followed closely by the Milky Way as it stretches across our eastern horizon. Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, lies within Canis Major (big dog) in the east. The second brightest star, Canopus, is in the south-east in Carina (ship’s keel). Since Sirius rises later than Canopus, in |Xam Bushman starlore, Sirius was thought of as “the grandmother of Canopus”, trailing behind the more agile Canopus.
During the first half of December, observe Jupiter before it sets in the early evening followed an hour later by Saturn. Venus is a bright early evening object, positioned impressively close to Saturn around 10 December. The Moon appears in our evening skies until 16 December and then from 27 December, with the full moon on 12 December and Summer Solstice (longest day) on 22 December.