Southern Cross Stargazer for Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2014

 

Sunday

As dawn breaks (6 a.m.) the waning crescent moon escorts huge Scorpius completely above the southeastern horizon. Antares, the heart, beats in the Scorpion’s torso. Antares, a red supergiant, is hundreds of times larger than our sun.

The lid of the rising Sagittarian Teapot appears on the southeastern horizon. Brilliant Venus, morning star, rises higher in the southeast before sunup. Silver Saturn, encircled with icy rings, glows in the south in Libra, ahead of Scorpius. Mars brightens in the south 5 degrees above Spica in Virgo. Leo, Lion crawls westward. Bright Jupiter sets in the northwest before dawn.

The Big Dipper hangs in the north. Its bowl always faces Polaris, North Star. Aim binoculars at the colorful double stars located in the curve of the handle. Bright Arcturus, Herdsman, sparkles overhead. Vega, in Lyra, Harp, brings the Summer Triangle into view low in the northeast.

Monday

At mid-evening, aim telescopes to bright sunlit Jupiter in the east. Io, its closest satellite moon, crosses the the planet at 9:51 p.m. followed by its shadow (black dot) 33 minutes later.

Tuesday

At dawn, the old moon rises 6 degrees ahead of Venus in the southeast.

Thursday

New moon occurs at 4:38 p.m.

Friday

Aim binoculars/cameras at Mercury, 5 degrees from the young moon low in the southwest. Mercury reaches its highest altitude during its close orbit around the sun. Mercury and the moon set early. The outer planets, blue-green Uranus and dim Neptune, drift across the southwest. Bright Jupiter glows to the right of the Gemini Twins in the east.

The Seven Sisters (Pleiades cluster) lead Taurus, Bull overhead. Aldebaran (Bull’s red eye) winks from the V-shaped Hyades cluster (Bull’s face.). Capella guides the Charioteer across the north. Orion, Hunter, strides higher in the east. Procyon, Little Dog, follows Orion. Brilliant blue Sirius sparkles in Orion’s Big Dog in the southeast.

At mid-evening, bright Canopus shimmers low in the south. In the late evening, ruddy Mars rises in the southeast. The Lion climbs higher in the east. The Big Dipper appears in the northeast.

Saturday

•  Event: SCAS Astros will offer telescope demos, photos and more at the MakerFaire Hobby Show, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. in Arnold Hall Building, Youth Fair Grounds, Coral Way/SW 107th Avenue, 305-661-1375.

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

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