Venus in February 2017

Venus Blazes after Sunset[1]

When the sky turns a deep blue after sunset, there’s nothing better to draw you outside than a brilliant gem standing near a crescent Moon. Such a scene awaits its viewers February 1 when dazzling Venus appears to the lower right of a five-day-old Moon in the southwestern sky. These celestial jewels, along with Mars, are the key features that change the day-to-day appearance of February’s evening sky.

Below is a Starry Night representation of the southwestern sky as seen from San Angelo on February 1, 2017 at 6:30 pm.

The approach of midnight adds Jupiter to the mix, while its more distant neighbor, Saturn, graces the morning sky. Finally, once twilight starts to paint the predawn sky early this month, elusive Mercury pops into view. Although these naked-eye objects will command most of your attention, binoculars open up the deeper reaches of the Solar System by bringing Uranus and Neptune into range.

[1] See Martin Ratcliffe and Alister Ling, “February 2017: Venus blazes after sunset,” Astronomy (45, 2, February 2017), p. 36

 

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