Are you stuck at home due to coronavirus? Here's Argus columnist Jon Powell on what you can see in the night sky tonight:

THIS evening presents a perfect opportunity under clear conditions to take a 15 minute tour of the night sky and, at the same time, catch sight of the International Space Station.

You do not need a telescope, as it can all be done with the naked eye.

At 8.15pm, either from your backyard or doorstep, look to the southwest and locate a very bright ‘star-like’ object - this is Venus.

South Wales Argus:

Venus is the closest planet to us in our solar system and its dense layer of clouds acts as a perfect reflective surface to bounce back sunlight towards us on Earth.

Now we’ve found Venus, sweep slowly upwards and to the left from the planet and you will arrive at what appears to be a small misty patch with several small stars visible within it.

This is the Pleaides star cluster, also known as the Seven Sisters.


Return once again to Venus and draw a direct straight line up in the sky until you come to a bright star - this will be Capella, the fifth brightest star in the entire sky.

Going back to Venus as your starting point again, sweep slowly to your left, and you will arrive at Orion The Hunter, comprising two top stars spread apart, three belt stars in a line below, then two stars below those three spread apart.

Also note just below the three belt stars, another fuzzy, hazy patch - that’s M42, a cloud of dust and gas, and a stellar nursery where new stars are being born.

Interestingly, look at the top left-hand star in Orion. This is Betelgeuse - see how red it looks? Betelgeuse is massive - about 900 times larger than our own Sun.

Continue sweeping left from the bottom two stars in Orion and you will arrive at a very bright star - this is Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the entire sky.

Finally, at 8.28pm above the western horizon, watch for a slow-moving point of light. This will be the International Space Station, which will slowly make its way eastwards.