The big, bright dot is Jupiter. Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius, shines a fist to its right. Bob King
Bright planets make the best guides to other objects in the night sky. Jupiter for instance is perfectly positioned to point us to Scorpius the scorpion. Outside of the moon it’s now the brightest object in the evening sky and will remain so for the summer. It shines beacon-like in the southern sky at dusk for much of the summer. If you’ve ever seen the space station, that’s how bright Jupiter is.
We’ve talked before about using a small telescope to view the planet’s four brightest moons and dark clouds belts including the Great Red Spot. I encourage you to do so any clear night. This time, we’ll follow its lead to Scorpius, one of the few constellations that resembles its name. Scorpius has deep roots, all the way back to ancient Greece, and represents the mythological scorpion that fatally stung Orion the hunter. That’s the reason the two groups lie in opposite parts of the sky — as Orion sets his nemesis rises.
Find Jupiter and you can find Scorpius, one of the most ancient constellations. From Antares downward ...