That's Venus beaming at us in the evening sky. Mars is still up there but it's losing brightness at a fast clip, as the Earth outruns it on the planetary merry go round. I did manage to see a few Geminids in the wee hours after moonset. It's been mostly cloudy so this morning was a bust. If you can roust yourself before dawn and look east you'll see Jupiter rising a couple of hours before the sun.
Friday night, we were returning from the Hal Holbrook/ Mark Twain performance, headed East on I 40. A large meteor crossed the sky and broke into two pieces before flaming out. It had to be large in order to be seen through the light pollution of downtown Knoxville.
Friends ask me why they don't see these things and I do, often pointing them out for others to catch the last instant of meteor flight. I don't know, really, but I think it is because I look for them. I have actually pointed out more than one person's "first" falling star. Is the sky really that easy to ignore?
The winter is a wonderful time to look up. Here is the easiest unwordly ting to see...the Orion Nebula. There are three bright stars all lined up in the southeastern sky about ten tonight or most nights if this one is cloudy. To the right of the three stars that make up Orion's belt, you can see three more stars angled down to the right. Take your binoculars and look at the middle star. Not a star is it?