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Guardian

Registered: 06-2006
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The Night Sky


This Week’s Sky at a Glance, January 26 – February 3
By: Alan MacRobert | January 26, 2018

Image

Moon, Pleiades, Hyades on Jan. 26 and 27, 2018
The Moon visits the Pleiades and the Hyades as it crosses Taurus after first quarter.

Friday, January 26

• The waxing gibbous Moon, two days past first quarter, shines to the right of Aldebaran and lower left of the Pleiades this evening, as shown here (for the middle of North America).

• Later, the Moon's dark limb occults Aldebaran as seen from far northwestern North America during the early-morning hours of Saturday; map and timetables.

Saturday, January 27

• After dark you'll find the Great Square of Pegasus sinking in the west, tipped onto one corner. Meanwhile the Big Dipper is creeping up in the north-northeast, tipped up on its handle.

Sunday, January 28

• As soon as it's fully dark, spot the big, equilateral Winter Triangle high in the southeast under the Moon. Sirius is its brightest and lowest star. Betelgeuse stands above Sirius by about two fists at arm's length. To the left of their midpoint is Procyon.

And, standing directly above Procyon now (depending on your latitude) is 3rd-magnitude Gomeisa, or Beta Canis Minoris, the only other easy naked-eye star of Canis Minor.

Monday, January 29

• Look left of the Moon this evening for Pollux with Castor over it. Farther to the Moon's lower right is brighter Procyon. Far lower right of Procyon is Sirius, brightest of all.

• Orion, high to the upper right of Sirius, is the brightest of the 88 constellations. But his main pattern is surprisingly small compared to some of his dimmer neighbors. The biggest of these is Eridanus the River to his west, enormous but hard to trace. Dimmer Fornax the Furnace, to Eridanus's lower right, is almost as big as Orion! Even the main pattern of Lepus, the Hare cowering under Orion's feet, isn't much smaller than he is.

Tuesday, January 30

• Now Pollux and Castor are high above the Moon. Procyon shines to the Moon's left.

• Total eclipse of the Moon before or during dawn Wednesday morning the 31st for western North America and Hawaii. Farther east, in the Central and Eastern time zones, the eclipse is still only partial by the time the Moon sets (and the Sun rises). The eclipse will be seen on the evening of the 31st for Australia and eastern Asia local date. For all the details see the January Sky & Telescope, page 48, or as the date draws near, SkyandTelescope.com.

Wednesday, January 31

• Full Moon (exact at 8:27 a.m. Eastern Standard Time). The Moon this evening shines between Cancer and Leo, well to the upper right of Regulus.

• Before dawn Thursday morning, about 1½ hours before your local sunrise time, Jupiter shines high in the south. Lower left of it by 12° is dimmer Mars, magnitude 1.2. Mars on Thursday morning is passing right between Beta Scorpii above it and the Omega1,2 Scorpii pair just below it. The four of them create an interesting, nearly vertical little line 1.2° tall. Binoculars give a fine view of it.

Lower left of Mars by 8° is Mars-colored Antares.

And if you draw a straight line from Jupiter through Mars and extend it another 30°, you come to Saturn glowing low in the southeast.

Thursday, February 1

• The waning gibbous Moon rises around the very end of twilight. Once the Moon is well up, look for Regulus to its upper right and Algieba farther to the Moon's upper left. These are the brightest two stars in the Sickle of Leo.

• Algol shines at its minimum brightness, magnitude 3.4 instead of its usual 2.3, for a couple hours centered on 11:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Friday, February 2

• The sky's biggest asterism (informal star pattern) — at least the biggest that's widely recognized — is the Winter Hexagon. It fills the sky toward the east and south these evenings. Start with brilliant Sirius at its bottom. Going clockwise from there, march up through Procyon, Pollux and Castor, Menkalinan and Capella on high, down to Aldebaran, then to Rigel in Orion's foot, and back to Sirius.

Betelgeuse shines inside the Hexagon, off center.

Saturday, February 3

• After it’s good and dark, look due east, not very high, for twinkly Regulus. Extending upper left from it is the Sickle of Leo, a backward question mark. "Leo announces spring," goes an old saying. Actually, Leo showing up in the evening announces the cold, messy back half of winter. Come spring, Leo will already be high.

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Re:


Sunday, February 4

• As soon as it's fully dark, Orion and the Winter Triangle shine high in the southeast. Sirius is the Triangle's brightest and lowest star. Betelgeuse in Orion' shoulder stands above Sirius by about two fists at arm's length. Left of them is the Triangle's third star, Procyon.

And standing above Procyon now (depending on your latitude) is 3rd-magnitude Gomeisa, or Beta Canis Minoris, the only other easy naked-eye star of Canis Minor.

Monday, February 5

• Betelgeuse, Orion's armpit, and Aldebaran, the bright eye of Taurus, are high in the south these evenings. Have you ever closely compared their colors? Can you detect any difference in their colors at all? I can't, really. Yet Aldebaran, spectral type K III, is often called an "orange" giant, while Betelgeuse, spectral type M1-M2 Ia, is usually called a "red" supergiant. Their temperatures are indeed a bit different: 3,910 Kelvin and 3,590 Kelvin, respectively.

A complication: Betelgeuse is brighter, and to the human eye, the colors of brighter objects appear, falsely, to be desaturated: tending paler (whiter) than they really are.

Moon, Jupiter, Mars at dawn, March 7-8-9, 2018
Look south as dawn begins to brighten to catch the waning Moon stepping past Jupiter and Mars over Scorpius — a constellation usually associated with summer evenings. (The blue 10° scale is about the width of your fist arm's length.)

Tuesday, February 6

• The last-quarter Moon rises around midnight tonight. Jupiter rises below the Moon about 50 minutes later. By dawn on Wednesday the 7th they're high in the south — now with Jupiter lower left of the Moon, Mars farther to the lower left of Jupiter, and Antares below Mars, as shown here.

Image

Wednesday, February 7

• The waning Moon rises around 1 a.m. tonight with Jupiter shining to its right or upper right. By dawn on Thursday the 8th they're high in the south — now with Jupiter to the right of the Moon, Mars to the Moon's lower left, and Antares below Mars, as shown here.

Thursday, February 8

• Before and during dawn on Friday morning the 9th, the Moon shines near Mars and Antares as shown here. Far to their upper right is brighter Jupiter.

Friday, February 9

• By 9 p.m. the Big Dipper stands straight up on its handle in the northeast. In the northwest, the W of Cassiopeia also stands on end at about the same height.

Saturday, February 10

• Sirius the Dog Star blazes high in the southeast after dinnertime, the brightest star of Canis Major. In a dark sky with lots of stars visible, the constellation's points can be connected to form a convincing dog profile. He's currently standing on his hind legs; Sirius is on his chest.

But through the kind of light pollution where most of us live, only his five brightest stars are easily visible. They form a short-handled meat cleaver. Sirius is the cleaver's top back corner, its blade faces right, and its handle is down below.

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Re:


Astronomy has always been my thing and ive always had questions,I got suspended for asking a physics professor who came to my high school simple questions which I touched a nerve.

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Justbec Profile
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I love it as well. I am seriously thinking of getting a telescope but I just don't think I would use it enough to spend 600 bucks.. Minnesota nights in the winter are below zero and the summer the mosquitoes would carry you off.

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Re: Re:



Justbec wrote:

I love it as well. I am seriously thinking of getting a telescope but I just don't think I would use it enough to spend 600 bucks.. Minnesota nights in the winter are below zero and the summer the mosquitoes would carry you off.



A telescope would be nice to have. I also love all things astronomy and astrology related! Many of it fascinating, filled with a bit of wonder and mystery, even the mystical side is interesting.



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Re: Re:



Justbec wrote:

I love it as well. I am seriously thinking of getting a telescope but I just don't think I would use it enough to spend 600 bucks.. Minnesota nights in the winter are below zero and the summer the mosquitoes would carry you off.



A telescope would be nice to have. I also love all things astronomy and astrology related! Many of it fascinating, filled with a bit of wonder and mystery, even the mystical side is interesting.



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Justbec Profile
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Hubby got me a Celestron Netstar 6SE for my birthday. Haven't played with it much yet because it stay light so late here. But I will soon. emoticon

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