This Week’s Sky: February 8 to 14, 2021 | SkyNews

Wednesday, February 10 – Previous Moon visits pre-dawn planets ( than dawn)

Previous Moon visits pre-dawn planets (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night time Training)

Shortly earlier than dawn within the east-southeastern sky on Wednesday, February 10, observers at southerly latitudes can for the slim crescent of the outdated Moon sitting a palm’s width to the best of the intense planet Venus. A lot dimmer Jupiter shall be positioned a finger’s width to Venus’ left, and Saturn will sit a number of finger widths above and between the Moon and Venus. The whole grouping will match throughout the 6 degrees-wide subject of view of binoculars, however make sure that you place your optics away earlier than the Solar rises. Mercury shall be positioned lower than a fist’s diameter to the left of Venus, too, however it is going to be troublesome to see.

Thursday, February 11 – Vibrant Venus passes Jupiter (earlier than dawn)

Vibrant Venus passes Jupiter (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night time Training)

Venus’ closest strategy to Jupiter will happen shortly earlier than dawn on Thursday, February 11. Look simply above the east-southeastern horizon earlier than dawn for the intense planet positioned simply to the decrease proper (or 0.5 levels to the celestial south of) one-sixth as vivid Jupiter. Each planets will match collectively within the subject of view of binoculars or perhaps a yard telescope (purple circle), however take care to place your optics away earlier than the Solar rises. Faint Saturn will even sit a palm’s width to Venus’ higher proper, and far fainter Mercury shall be positioned a palm’s width to Venus’ higher left. If Thursday is cloudy, look on Wednesday morning for Venus sitting to Jupiter’s proper, and on Friday morning for Venus to Jupiter’s decrease left.

Thursday, February 11 – New Moon (at 19:05 GMT)

New Moon (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night time Training)

At 19:05 GMT on Thursday, February 11, the Moon will formally attain its new Moon part. Whereas new, the Moon is travelling between Earth and the Solar. Since daylight can solely attain the far facet of the Moon, and the Moon is in the identical area of the sky because the Solar, the Moon turns into fully hidden from view for a few day. After new Moon Earth’s celestial night-light will return to shine within the western night sky.  

Friday, February 12 – Algol dims in brightness (at 7:25 p.m. EST)

Algol dims in brightness (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night time Training)

Algol, additionally designated Beta Persei, is among the many most accessible variable stars for skywatchers. For ten hours as soon as each 2 days, 20 hours, and 49 minutes, Algol’s visible brightness dims and re-brightens noticeably. This occurs as a result of a companion star orbiting practically edge-on to Earth crosses in entrance of the a lot brighter primary star, decreasing the full mild output we obtain. Algol usually at magnitude 2.1, much like the close by star Almach (aka Gamma Andromedae). Whereas dimmed Algol’s brightness of magnitude 3.four is sort of similar to Rho Persei (or Gorgonea Tertia or ρ Per), the star sitting simply two finger widths to Algol’s decrease left (or 2.25 levels to the celestial south). On Friday, February 12 at 7:25 p.m. EST, Algol shall be at minimal brightness whereas sitting excessive within the western sky. 5 hours later Algol will return to its standard magnitude and shall be positioned 22 levels above the western horizon.

Saturday, February 13 – Respect the Pleiades (all evening)

The Seven Sisters, M45 (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night time Training)

At about 7:15 p.m. native time on mid-February evenings, the Pleiades open star cluster, also called the Seven Sisters and Messier 45, is positioned excessive within the southern sky. The remainder of its dwelling Taurus, the Bull sits beneath the cluster. Visually, the cluster consists of medium-, scorching blue stars named Asterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygeta, Celaeno and Alcyone. In Greek mythology, these characters have been the daughters of Atlas, and half sisters of the Hyades. They’re certainly associated, lately born of the identical primordial fuel cloud. To the bare eye, solely six of the sister stars are often obvious; their dad and mom Atlas and Pleione are huddled collectively on the east finish of the grouping. Beneath magnification, a whole bunch of stars seem. Not surprisingly, many cultures — together with Aztec, Maori, Sioux, Hindu and — have this object and developed tales round it. In Japan, it’s referred to as Suburu, and types the emblem of the eponymous automobile maker. Because of its comparable form, the Pleiades are typically confused with the Little Dipper.

Sunday, February 14 – Sirius sparkles like a diamond (all evening)

Sirius sparkles like a diamond (Chris Vaughan, Starry Night time Training)

In mid-February the evening sky’s brightest star, Sirius, or Alpha Canis Majoris, reaches its highest level over the southern horizon at round 9:30 p.m. native time. Sirius is a scorching, white, A-class star situated solely 8.6 light-years from Earth — a part of the explanation for its brilliance. For mid-northern latitude observers, Sirius is all the time seen within the decrease third of the sky, by a thicker blanket of refracting ambiance. This causes the sturdy twinkling and flashes of color the Canine Star is thought for.

Chris Vaughan is a science author, geophysicist, astronomer, planetary scientist and an “outreach RASCal.” He writes Astronomy Skylights, and you’ll observe him on Twitter at @astrogeoguy. He may also convey his Digital Starlab moveable inflatable planetarium to your college or different daytime or night occasion. Contact him by AstroGeo.ca to tour the universe collectively.

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