Skylights: Feb 11 thru Feb 17, 2013

Feb 11

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2/11/2013 2:35 PM  RssIcon

SKYLIGHTS: February 11 through February 17

February 11: The Moon, Mercury and Mars all meet up in the sky this evening.  Look around 30 to 45 minutes after sunset.  Binoculars will help pick off the very slim crescent Moon, which is only about a day old at this time.  A telescope may reveal a slight phase of Mercury, though the diameter of the planet is only 6 arc seconds.

February 16: Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation.  The means the planet is at it furthest point east in the western sky.  Because Mercury is an inferior planet (like Venus), it does not cross the sky; it merely is visible in the evening or morning hours before falling back towards the horizon.  Mercury will be at greatest western elongation in the eastern/morning sky in late March, but the ecliptic's poor angle then will make it difficult to see.

February 17: The First Quarter Moon occurs today, just as the natural satellite of Earth slides near the planet Jupiter in the sky.  Jupiter is also near the Hyades today, and the asteroids Vesta and Ceres are in the same constellation of Taurus along with the planet and Moon.

All week: M41 is an open cluster near the brightest star in the sky, Sirius.  Using the "belt" stars of Orion, look down and to the left of them to spot this bright star.  Messier 41 is just 4 degrees below Sirius - it's hazy patch of light is visible in finderscopes and binoculars, but is best seen at low power in a telescope.  See Star Chart #9 here at Eyes on the Sky.

Other points of light:

February 13: Algol at minimum at 03 hours, 11 min UTC.

February 16: Algol at minimum at 00 hours, 00 min UTC.

Skylights February 11 through February 17

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Re: Skylights: Feb 11 thru Feb 17, 2013

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Re: Skylights: Feb 11 thru Feb 17, 2013

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Re: Skylights: Feb 11 thru Feb 17, 2013

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Since Pistole announced his plans to allow knives, the TSA chief has even been pressured by the families of 9/11 survivors to reconsider.
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Re: Skylights: Feb 11 thru Feb 17, 2013

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.