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/.
Toward the end of this week look for Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn lined up for your pleasure in the pre-dawn sky.
A nice asterism (a pattern formed by stars) this time of year is the winter hexagon. This is the largest asterism as it takes a large amount of the sky’s real estate, and consists of the bright stars Rigel, Aldebaran, Capella, Castor, Pollux, Procyon, and Sirius. Look for it in the south about 9 p.m.
First-quarter Moon at 3:26 p.m. MST.
Mercury (in Aquarius)
Mercury is in the glare of the sunset this week and therefore not visible.
Venus (in Sagittarius) ) and Jupiter (in Ophiuchus)
Venus and Jupiter are very bright and rise a couple of hours before sunrise in the southeast. Jupiter is above Venus and to the right (west) – see above graphic. (Telescope tip: To view Venus without the glare, wait until the planet is high in the blue sky. Watch out for the Sun!).
Mars (in Pisces/Aries)
Mars is in its best viewing position low in the southwest just after dark – it sets around 11 p.m. Early next week Uranus and Mars will be within 1 degree of each other!
Saturn (in Sagittarius)
Look for the ringed planet in Sagittarius and below Venus, as shown in the above graphic.
Uranus (in Aries/Pisces)
Look in the southwest just after dark, near Mars. Check out the Sky & Telescope finder chart at http://wwwcdn.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/WEB_UrNep18.pdf (Uranus is easily visible with quality binoculars). Early next week Uranus and Mars will be within 1 degree of each other.
Neptune (in Aquarius)
Neptune is lost in the glare of the sunset this week.
SCAS UPCOMING EVENTS
The next membership meeting will be on Thursday, February 21st, at 6:30 p.m. in the Bret Kelly B conference room at the Rawlings Public Library. There will be a presentation about the history and the different types of telescopes. The public has been invited to bring their personal telescopes, so that after the presentation SCAS members can address any questions about their operation and care; members can bring their own scopes as well, if they have any operational questions to be addressed.
FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION REGARDING SCAS ACTIVITIES, REFER TO THE SCAS FACEBOOK PAGE.
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