AS JANUARY drifts into February, the main winter constellations are slowly sliding out of view now too, writes STUART ATKINSON. Look to the south mid-evening and you'll see the familiar hourglass shape of Orion, The Hunter, standing above the rooftops and trees. You can't really miss Orion - just look for a short line of three blue stars, all the same brightness, angled down on the left, and that's Orion's Belt, the most prominent feature in the constellation. To the lower right of the belt you'll see a bright blue-white star - this is Rigel. To the top left of the belt you'll see a bright orange star - Betelgeuse, one of the most famous stars in the whole sky.

You can also use Orion's Belt to help you find the brightest star in the sky. Follow the line of the belt down to the left and you'll see it points straight towards a sparkling, flashing blue-white star - this is Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, and by far the brightest star in the whole sky.

If your sky is clear on Friday evening you'll see the Moon shining to the upper right of Orion. Look a little more closely and you'll see it is actually beneath a pair of star clusters. To its left will be the V-shaped Hyades cluster, which represents the sharp horns of Taurus, The Bull. Above the Moon, just to its right, you'll see the Pleiades or Seven Sisters cluster, which many people think looks like a shrunken version of the Big Dipper.

Enjoy all these stars and clusters now, while you can, because before too long they will have dropped beneath the horizon, replaced by the stars of spring.