Southern Cross Stargazer for Feb. 3-9, 2013



Last quarter moon occurs 8:56 a.m. Moon rises after midnight.


As twilight darkens, dim planets may be visible through binoculars low in the southwest. Mercury appears near the horizon 2 degrees below Mars. Outer planet Neptune lies half a degree upper right of Mercury and blue-green Uranus, in Pisces the Fish, drifts across the southwest. Aries, Ram, chases Pegasus, Winged Horse, onto the western horizon.

The delicate Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) shimmer in front of bright Jupiter aglow in Taurus, Bull, overhead. Ruddy Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face). Bright Capella guides Auriga, Charioteer, across the north. The Royal Family swings into the northwest. The Gemini Twins bring the dim Beehive star cluster higher in the northeast.

Gigantic Orion, Hunter, climbs higher in the east in pursuit of the Bull. The Great Orion Nebula (stellar nursery) glows from his sword. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Before 7 p.m. in the southeast, brilliant blue Sirius, a nearby star, sparkles as the eye in Orion’s Big Dog running on its hind legs after Orion. Mid-evening, bright Canopus radiates rainbow colors from the ancient ship Argo low in the south. Leo, Lion, crawls higher in the east. The Big Dipper rises in the northeast. Late evening, bright Arcturus sparkles in the northeast beyond the Dipper’s handle.


In dusk, aim binoculars to Mars and Mercury dancing half a degree apart near the southwestern horizon.


By 6:30 a.m. brilliant Venus, Morning Star, glows on the southeastern horizon in Capricornus, Sea Goat. The waning moon floats above Venus. Huge Scorpius clears the southeastern horizon. Ruddy Antares, the heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso. Silver Saturn in Libra chases Spica in Virgo across the south. Corvus, Crow, flies into the southwest. The Lion crawls westward. The Gemini Twins stand in the northwest. The Big Dipper tilts toward the northwest. Its “bowl” always faces Polaris, North Star. Bright Arcturus sparkles overhead. Vega twinkles in the northeast.


In dusk, planet dancers change places and Mercury turns 1.1 degree above Mars low in the southwest.

Compiled by Barb Yager, Southern Cross Astronomical Society, 305-661-1375,

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