There are many bright stars in winter’s early evening sky; most of them can be found in the south, in and near the constellation Orion. The very brightest star is in the southeast, and it’s called Sirius, a name derived from the Greek “seirios,” which means, scorching, or sparkling. So you could say Sirius is the star you meant when you recited “Twinkle, Twinkle” as a kid. This brilliant white star does twinkle, owing to the effects of our earth’s atmosphere, which cause its image to dance and flash. Sirius is also called the Dog Star, because it's supposed to mark the nose of the Big Dog in the sky, Canis Major. Stars have different brightnesses. Some are bright because they're close to us; others are bright because they're either hotter or bigger. In the case of Sirius, it's a little of both - a big, white-hot star, very close to us – only nine light years, or 54 trillion miles away.