I tend to pay attention to the sky. It’s that whole “obsessed with space and astronomy and astrophotography” thing. So when every hour my watch bugs me to stand up and walk around for a bit, I often end up after dark out taking a lap around the yard and checking out the stars.
The last month or so has been marginal in Los Angeles for stargazing. There’s been a lot of coastal clouds and haze as well as a few days that were just totally clouded over. (No rain, just clouds, at least in our neighborhood. We badly need rain!) With all of the lights in SoCal, it doesn’t take much haze to reflect it back down at the ground and brighten the sky pretty well. In real terms what that means is that on a normal night these days you can see the Moon if it’s up, almost always Venus in the sunset sky and Jupiter in the east an hour or two later (they’re REALLY bright), and usually Saturn up a bit to the west of Jupiter. Near the zenith, where the haze and clouds will be thinner and more transparent, you can see the brighter stars in the summer sky. Vega in Lyra and Deneb in Cygnus are pretty bright and overhead. Sometimes you can see all four of the bright stars in Cygnus, which is a good test of seeing.
But off to the south, you might see the bright stars of Scorpius and Capricorn, or you might not. If all you can see is Antares, it’s too foggy.
But tonight was wonderfully clear. Off to the north I could see something down near the horizon under Cassiopeia that I figured must be a helicopter it was so bright and near the horizon. But a quick check of the sky map shows that it was Capella!