Southern Colorado Skies / February 25-March 3, 2018

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available; an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.

THIS WEEK

On March 2nd through 4th, Mercury and Venus will appear just over one degree from one another. Both planets will continue getting higher in the sky as the month of March progresses.

Sometimes clouds are your friend with nightscape photos. This is a picture I took last January of the Moon, which is mostly obscured in the high clouds. That’s Jupiter to the lower right of the Moon, and Scorpius (do you see reddish Antares?) on the right side of the photo.

Thursday (March 1)

Full Moon occurs at 5:51 p.m. MST.

Friday through Sunday (March 2-4)

Shortly after sunset (see above graphic) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Mercury and Venus will appear just over one degree from one another. The two inner planets will appear closest on Saturday evening. Binoculars will help.

DAYLIGHT

 

PLANETS

Mercury and Venus (both in Aquarius)

At the end of the week (see above), Mercury and Venus will appear within about one degree of each other shortly after sunset. Binoculars will help in your quest.

Mars (in Ophiuchus) and Jupiter (in Libra)

Both planets rise well after midnight and are well up in the southern sky by early dawn. Look for Mars to the lower left (east) of much brighter Jupiter.

Don’t mistake reddish Mars for reddish Antares a little further down. Antares (translates as “anti Ares” or Mars’ opposite, because they look similar) is the alpha star in the constellation Scorpius.

Saturn (in Sagittarius)

Saturn offers a decent low in the dawn light to the southeast. If you don’t see Saturn right away, try drawing an imaginary line from bright Jupiter through Mars and then continue it way down toward the horizon.

Uranus (in Pisces)

High in the west at nightfall.

Neptune (in Aquarius)

Neptune is now lost in the sunset.

BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES

The following data are based on my location in Pueblo West, Colorado. If you live well outside this area, you should consider checking this information for your location in order to be assured of accurate times, elevations, etc. If you’re unfamiliar with Iridium flares, check out my short article at: http://scaspueblo.com/blog/2017/02/25/iridium-flares/.

Monday (February 26) 6:00:30 a.m. / Magnitude -4.6 / N / Elevation 50 degrees

Tuesday (February 27) 5:54:22 a.m. / Magnitude -4.7 / N / Elevation 48 degrees

Tuesday (February 27) 7:22:00 p.m. / Magnitude -8.1 / SE / Elevation 46 degrees

Wednesday (February 28) 7:18:08 p.m. / Magnitude -5.2 / SSE / Elevation 47 degrees

Thursday (March 1) 5:42:23 a.m. / Magnitude -7.7 / N / Elevation 45 degrees

Friday (March 2) 5:36:25 a.m. / Magnitude -2.5 / N / Elevation 43 degrees

Friday (March 2) 7:08:49 p.m. / Magnitude -8.1 / SSE / Elevation 49 degrees

Saturday (March 3) 5:30:28 a.m. / Magnitude -7.5 / N / Elevation 41 degrees

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

These are too numerous to list here! If you’re seriously interested, load the ISS DETECTOR app on your smart phone or tablet.

Carpe noctem

Dave Furry

Pueblo West, Colorado

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