February Morning Sky

Venus and Moon
Venus and Moon on February 28, 2011

Venus continues to dominate the early morning sky.  While fading in brightness as it races behind the sun and  into the evening sky later in the year, it is the brightest starlike object in the predawn sky.  Because of its brillance, it can be mistaken for an airplane.  During February it rises around 4 am and can be found low in the east-southeastern sky until the sky brightens toward sunrise.  Clever observers can locate Venus during daylight hours.

Further observations with a small telescope and moderate powers (35x-100x) will reveal that this planet displays phases, similar to the moon’s cycle of phases. 
In late February and early March, the a crescent moon joins Venus in the eastern sky to make an interesting grouping.  The accompanying diagram shows the celestial duo at 5:30 a.m. on February 28.  The next morning, the moon will appear lower and to the left of the moon.

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