- February 2007
Each week, <http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/venus.html> Venus creeps
higher in the afterglow of sunset. Look for it low in the west-southwest as
the light of day fades. During the first 10 days of February, look also for
little <http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/mercury.html> Mercury to
Venus' lower right. Later in the February evening, the constellation
<http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/orion.html> Orion stands
upright at its highest in the south, with bright Sirius and its
<http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/canis_major.html> Canis Major,
following behind to its lower left. The
<http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/taurus.html> Pleiades cluster
is now west of the zenith.
<http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/auriga.html> Capella, one of
the brightest stars in the sky after Sirius, is high overhead.
1 Full <http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/earth_and_moon.html#moon>
Moon tonight, called the Snow Moon. The yellowish "star" below the Moon
during evening is <http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/saturn.html>
Saturn. <http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/gemini.html> Pollux
and Castor are higher above the Moon. Procyon shines off to its right.
2 The Moon shines in the east after dark with Saturn just above it. Although
they look close together, Saturn is 3,100 times farther away. Below the Moon
twinkles <http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/leo.html> Regulus --
600,000 times farther than Saturn!
3 By mid-evening the waning gibbous Moon is up in the east. Saturn is the
brightest "star" above it. Look about midway between the Moon and Saturn for
7 The planet Mercury is at greatest elongation, 18 degrees east of the
<http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/sun.html> Sun at dusk. Look for it to
the lower right of brilliant Venus, low in the west-southwest in early
twilight. Because Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, it never strays
far from the Sun in our sky.
The Moon is at apogee.
10 Saturn is at opposition (opposite the Sun in our sky).
11 The waning Moon shines in the south before and during dawn. Bright
Jupiter is to its left, by a bit more than the width of your fist at arm's
length. Fainter orange
<http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/scorpius.html> Antares is
12 <http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/jupiter.html> Jupiter shines
above the Moon before dawn. Antares is to their right, forming a nice
triangle with them.
14 As dawn begins to grow bright, look for the waning crescent Moon low in
the southeast (far to the lower left of Jupiter). Distant little Mars is to
the Moon's left, by roughly a fist-width at arm's length. Binoculars help.
18 Look west an hour or less after sunset for Venus. Below it, and perhaps a
bit right, is the thin waxing crescent Moon.
19 Venus shines below the crescent Moon in the west during twilight -- a
beautiful sight! Although they look close together, Venus is 600 times
farther away this evening.
The Moon is at perigee.
20 Look for bright Venus far below the Moon early this evening.
21 The stars of the little constellation Aries shine to the Moon's upper
23 Use binoculars to spot the Pleiades right next to the Moon.
27 Pollux and Castor shine just above the Moon early this evening.
28 Pollux, the Moon, Saturn, and Regulus form a nearly straight line this
evening, in that order from upper right to lower left.
From Star Date www.stardate.org <http://www.stardate.org/>
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- Lunar Phases <http://stardate.org/resources/faqs/faq.php?id=2>
Feb. 2 - 5:13 pm*
Feb. 9 - 8:49 am*
Feb. 16 - 3:37 pm*
Feb. 24 - 7:35 pm*
: Feb. 7
Apogee <http://stardate.org/resources/astroglossary/index.php#apogee> : Feb.
Three planets are at or near their best this month - one in the evening sky,
one in the morning, and one visible almost all night. Venus
<http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/venus.html> dominates the evening,
shining as the "evening star." Mercury
<http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/mercury.html> , which is the only
planet closer to the Sun <http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/sun.html>
than Venus is, peeks into view in the east a little before sunrise. Mars
<http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/mars.html> and Jupiter
<http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/jupiter.html> are climbing up behind
it, and may just become visible by month's end. Saturn
<http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/saturn.html> , which is the
most-distant planet that's easily visible to the unaided eye, rises in early
evening and stays in view all night. The wide spread ensures that at least
one planet is in view throughout the night.
9 The Moon <http://stardate.org/resources/ssguide/earth_and_moon.html#moon>
will undergo a barely perceptible eclipse this evening as it slips through
the faint outer portion of Earth's shadow, called the penumbra. Part of the
eclipse will be visible across most of the United States, but you will need
to look carefully to notice any darkening.
9-11 The Moon, the planet Saturn, and the star Regulus
<http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/leo.html> cluster together for
three nights. Regulus is barely to the left of the Moon as they rise on the
9th. The Moon splits the gap between them the next night, and is closest to
Saturn on the 11th.
13 Mercury stands farthest from the Sun for its current morning appearance,
scrunching into view in the southeast at first light. It looks like a fairly
bright star, but it remains low in the sky. It also is visible for a few
days before and after this date, though lower in the sky.
14 Venus, the "evening star," is at its brightest tonight. It stands high in
the west as night falls.
14 Spica, the brightest star of Virgo, stands close to the upper left of the
Moon as they rise in late evening.
17/18 The Moon passes Antares, the brightest star of Scorpius
<http://stardate.org/nightsky/constellations/scorpius.html> , in the
pre-dawn sky. Antares is quite close to the left of the Moon at first light
on the 17th, and a little farther to the upper right on the 18th.
26/27 Venus and the Moon stage a beautiful encounter in the evening sky.
Venus stands well above the Moon on the 26th, while they are side by side on
From StarDate www.stardate.org <http://www.stardate.org/>
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