The Night Sky This Week

Each Monday I pick out the northern hemisphere’s celestial highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses and more.

What To See In The Night Sky This Week: February 6-12, 2023

A waning gibbous moon—full on Sunday—makes this week less than ideal for early evening stargazing. However, since the moon will rise about an hour later each night if you get outside early enough you should be able to get a some observing done. The chief sights this week is comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) close to Mars, though there’s plenty else to see in the night sky.

MORE FROM FORBESComet Tracker: Exactly Where To See The ‘Green Comet’ Tonight (But Don’t Look Directly At It)

Monday, February 6: Moon and Regulus

Wait a few hours after sunset and look to the east with naked eyes you’ll easily see the 98%-lit waning gibbous moon rising about 4.5º from Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo “the Lion” an a “Royal Star” to ancient Persian astronomers.

Friday, February 10: Mars and a comet #1

If it’s still shining brightly then comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will be visible very close to the red planet tonight. Put a pair of 10×50 (or similar) binoculars up to Mars and go slightly to the left and you should see it. If you’re lucky—and your sky is dark enough—you may even see it with your naked eyes.

Saturday, February 11: Mars and a comet #2

Here’s another chance to see C/2022 E3 (ZTF) close to Mars.

Constellation of the week: Auriga

The winter constellation of Auriga “the charioteer” is one of the oldest. It’s best found by identifying its brightest star Capella, which marks the charioteer’s shoulder. The constellation’s other bright stars include Elnath (which marks the charioteer’s horn) and Menkalinan (its shoulder). Within Auriga are a trio of open clusters of stars—M36, M37 and M38—which are best seen through a telescope or binoculars.

Object of the week: Flaming Star Nebula

In Auriga you’ll find the Flaming Star Nebula (IC 405), a large emission nebula about 1,500 light-years from Earth that can be seen through a telescope. A faint, diffuse cloud of gas and dust, it’s named for AE Aurigae, a bright star within the nebula.

Times and dates given apply to mid-northern latitudes. For the most accurate location-specific information consult online planetariums like Stellarium and The Sky Live. Check planet-rise/planet-set, sunrise/sunset and moonrise/moonset times for where you are.

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.

#Night #Sky #Week

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