February is approaching. It’s time NASA once again shared its suggestions for what to look out for in the skies in the coming weeks.
First, Jupiter and Venus appear to converge in the night sky over the next few weeks. It’s easy to spot thanks to its bright appearance, but if identification is difficult, use one of the following: many good astronomy apps Available for Android and iPhone.
Another combination occurs near the end of the month when the Moon and Mars are very close together and appear high in the southwest after sunset.
According to NASA, February is the best month to spot Auriga.
“The constellation Auriga represents the ancient chariot driver, often depicted as a full figure, but given its outline, it might be better to think of it as one of the wheels of a chariot.” NASA explains on that website. “The brightest star in the constellation Auriga is Capella. Now, in Latin, Capella is the word for female goat, and in addition to Capella, her three little stars known as ‘children’, like the name of a baby goat. is nearby.
This constellation is visible high in the western sky on February nights. Check out the video for detailed instructions on where to find it, or launch your Astronomy app for help.
Grab your binoculars or telescope and take a closer look at the two open star clusters M41 and M47.
“They are called ‘open’ because they are so close to each other in space that they are a kind of diffuse structure,” NASA explains.
To find it in the night sky, first look for Sirius, which stands out brightly to the south. About 2,300 light-years away, her M41 is 4 degrees south of Sirius. NASA says you can see them in the same field of view if you look through binoculars. Although it appears to be about the size of the full moon, it is actually about 25 light-years across.
For M47, start at Sirius and look east about 12 degrees, then a few degrees north. It looks about the same size as the M41, but a little brighter. M47 lies about 1,600 light-years from Earth and is calculated to be about 12 light-years across.
“Our own Sun is thought to have formed as part of a star cluster like this,” says NASA.
Bonus Tip: A comet that was last compressed 50,000 years ago is visiting us. Yes it is possible to display it.