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Eye on the Night Sky

Eye on the Night Sky

February 11, 2016

Nightly Events

  • Tonight:

    The planet Mars is just in the beginning stages of its prominent display for 2016. Mars reaches its closest to the Earth, and therefore its brightest in our skies, every 26 months. It rises a little before 1 AM, but early morning is the time to catch it, due south, one third of the way above the horizon from 5:30 to 6:00 AM EST.

  • February 12:

    Orion is in the south this evening, his left foot (on the right as we face him) denoted by the star Rigel, which is Arabic for "left foot". The bright star that marks his right shoulder (on our left) is called Betelgeuse, also Arabic, though its meaning is less certain. Variations in the name suggest it means the hand, the shoulder, or the armpit.

  • February 13:

    On the next clear night, it should be quite easy to find the brightest star – the North Star, right? No! As you scan the skies, tonight our brightest star starts low in the southeast near 6 o’clock, and will be due south at 9 o’clock. You are watching Sirius, known commonly as the “Dog Star”, relatively close to us at only 8 light years away.