Brilliant Morning Star Venus shines from the southeastern sky this morning during twilight. It is over 5 degrees to the left of Jupiter. Venus passed Jupiter nearly a week ago and the gap widens each morning. Venus is heading toward a conjunction with Saturn next month.
This morning Jupiter is nearly 9 degrees to the left of the star Antares that represents the “heart” of the Scorpion.
This morning, the Last Quarter moon is outside the frame, nearly 11 degrees to the left of the star Spica. It is headed toward displays with Jupiter and Venus in a few days.
After its close opposition last summer, Mars has faded in brightness. It is now in the western sky after sunset. It passes the planet Uranus on February 12. Uranus’ brightness is at the limit of eyesight. With most of the population living near bright street lights, a binocular is needed to locate the planet. Those living in rural areas can find it without optical assistance by staying outside long enough for their eyes to see the dimmest stars.
At the end of evening twilight, Mars is “that bright star” about halfway up in the west-southwest. It is west of the bright stars of Winter that are now dominating the southern sky. Each night Mars is farther east when compared to the distant starry background as it moves through the dim stars of Pisces. The brightest star in the region is Omicron Piscium, mostly indistinct to the unaided eye. Uranus is to the upper right of that star, but do not confuse it with 54 Ceti that is nearly the same brightness and color as Uranus.
The chart above shows Mars’ path beginning on February 6, when it is 4° from Uranus. The gap closes each night: Feb. 7, 3.5°; Feb 8, 2.9°; Feb 9, 2.3°; Feb. 10, 1.8°; and Feb. 11, 1.2°.
The crescent moon (6.2 days past its New phase, 31% illuminated) passes about 6° to the lower left of Mars on February 10. By this date, if you’ve not located the marching Mars, guidance from the moon’s location will help.
Mars passes 1° to the upper right of Uranus on February 12. After this date, Mars separates: Feb. 13, 1.1°; Feb. 14, 2°.
Take a look to locate Uranus, one of the planets that is not easy to locate because it is dim. Mars passing by makes it easier to locate.
Brilliant Morning Star Venus continues to dazzle the pre-sunrise sky in the southeast. Earlier this week, Venus passed Jupiter. This morning they are over 4 degrees apart as Venus heads toward a conjunction with Saturn next month. The star Antares is over 8 degrees to the right of Jupiter. This morning, the gibbous moon is outside the frame. It is headed toward displays with Jupiter and Venus next week.
The brilliant morning star Venus shines from the southeast this morning with Jupiter about 3.6 degrees to its right. The gibbous moon is in the western sky. Venus continues to move eastward rapidly toward a conjunction with Saturn next month.
Brilliant Morning Star Venus shines from the southeast during twilight this morning. This morning, Jupiter is about 15 degrees to the lower left of Venus. Venus passes the Giant Planet on January 22. Several dimmer stars appear on the image. To note the distance Venus has traveled since it appeared in the morning sky, the planet was near Spica on November 14. Venus passed between Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali on December 25. Venus passes Graffias on January 10. Watch the gap close during the next few mornings.
During a few mornings in early February, the solar system is on parade. Look into sky about an hour before sunrise. Brilliant Morning Star Venus, about 15 degrees up in the southeast, catches our eye. Saturn is about 8.5 degrees to the lower left of Venus, and Jupiter is 18 degrees to the brilliant planet’s upper right.
We see our solar system from the inside. Most of the stuff in the solar system lies almost in a plane. Seen from our place, the planets appear to move near an imaginary line across the sky, the ecliptic. Bright distant stars appear behind that line, making them sign posts along the planets’ paths. Those stars, Antares – Spica – Regulus – Pollux, arc from the visible planets in the southeast to the northwest horizon. Antares is about 5 degrees below the ecliptic, while Pollux is about 6 degrees above the line. The moon and planets pass nearby, but not as closely as the other bright stars along their paths.
Find a clear horizon and trace the ecliptic’s path across the horizon. On February 18, Venus passes Saturn. Beginning on February 19 – one hour before sunrise -, the moon is near Regulus. Look each morning a the same time to see the moon farther east and its phase growing smaller. Watch it pass the Jupiter late in the month, and Saturn and Venus early next month.
Brilliant Morning Star Venus, bright Jupiter, and the crescent moon shine from the southeast this morning. Venus and Jupiter are about 16 degrees apart this morning. The gap closes during the next three weeks as Venus passes the Giant Planet later this month. The crescent moon (2% illuminated) appears nearly 15 degrees to the lower left of Jupiter. Having a clear horizon or finding a gap in the terrestrial features is important to seeing some astronomical phenomena.
Just 20 minutes earlier, before the moon appeared above the horizon, Antares was barely visible near Jupiter.