The Big Dipper Is Standing On Its Handle This Evening

Since the skies are clearing, and the nights are warmer, but the mosquitoes aren’t out yet, this is a good time for some star-gazing. You can’t miss Orion’s Belt high in the sky very early in the evening. It’s even easier to see the stars right now because the trees are mostly bare, so take the opportunity to step outside for a free light show while you can — and before the mosquitoes return. Here’s a list of what to look for this week.

  • Tuesday, February 15
  • The Moon this evening forms part of a gently arcing line with Castor and Pollux to its upper left and Procyon to its lower right.
  • Wednesday, February 16
  • The Big Dipper stands on its handle high in the northeast these evenings. Its top two stars, the Pointers, point left to the (rather dim) North Star — about three fists at arm’s length away.
  • Thursday, February 17
  • Full Moon tonight (exact at 3:36 a.m. Friday morning EST).
  • Look left or lower left of the Moon after dark for Regulus. Farther left of them is Gamma Leonis, not much fainter than Regulus. Look farther to the Moon’s lower right for orange Alphard.
  • Friday, February 18
  • Look for Regulus about a fist-width above the Moon this evening. Regulus marks the bottom-right end of the Sickle pattern in Leo (the bottom of the Sickle’s handle).
  • Saturday, February 19
  • This is the time of year when Orion stands at his highest due south in early evening. Upper right of him is Taurus with orange Aldebaran and, farther on, the Pleiades cluster. Lower left of Orion is Canis Major with bright Sirius.
  •  

    It's easy to spot the three stars in Orion's Belt right now.

    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/community/gallery/celestial/6541242.html


    About M.J.Deare

    I am a writer, actively researching topics of interest. I am also a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a degree in English, and have a master's degree from the University of Memphis. Born in New Orleans, I lived there until moving to northwest Arkansas and from there to Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas.
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