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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Mon. Feb. 1 – The excitement should be starting to grow for the next Mars opposition coming up in May. Right now the Earth is starting to close in our neighbour who is running in the outer lane. Tonight the waning crescent Moon will see how things are coming along, approaching to within the width of a finger from Mars in the dawn sky.

Wed. Feb. 3 – The lunar nightwatchman moves further east, and by early this morning it will come to within two finger widths of the ringed planet Saturn.

Sat. Feb. 6 – The Moon has now shrunk to a narrow crescent in the dawn sky. Look just below it for a peek at Mercury. About double its distance will be brilliant Venus so that the three will create an exciting celestial triangle.

Sun. Feb. 7 – Fleet Mercury is now at its greatest western elongation in the dawn sky. A good time to catch up with the elusive, fast-moving innermost planet.

Mon. Feb. 8  - This is New Moon Night, the heart of the time that subtle glories can be seen in the dark night sky. It’s an early opportunity to try and spy the Zodiacal light which is now approaching the period when it is easiest  to observe. What to look for is a cone of light extending up into the western sky after sunset. The effect is produced by sunlight reflecting off leftover dust in the equatorial plane of the solar system.

Tues. Feb. 9 – For those who would like to track down the planet Neptune, its small blue disk will appear only the width of a finger held at arm’s length south of the fingernail crescent Moon very low in the evening sky. It will be a challenging observation, but the best opportunity to see the outer giant before it reaches conjunction with the Sun on the 28th.

Wed. Feb. 10 – The thin crescent Moon may wear a broader smile than usual since our neighbour is now at perihelion, the closest point in its orbit to the Earth.

Fri. Feb. 12 – Tonight the waxing crescent Moon provides a fingerpost to the pale green disk of Uranus which will only be about the width of a finger above it.

Mon. Feb. 15 – This past week the Moon has been a growing crescent in the western sky. Tonight it displays the symmetry of its First Quarter Phase, riding high in the evening sky.

Tues. Feb. 16 – The waxing gibbous Moon will pass less than its width north of bright Aldebaran in Taurus tonight.

Mon. Feb. 22 – This is Full Moon night with our neighbour illuminating the early signs of the coming spring in the Okanagan.

Tues. Feb. 23 – The just past full Moon appears just under brilliant Jupiter high in the midnight sky.

Mon. Feb. 29 – This is Leap Day night, giving Okanagan observers an extra opportunity to explore the wonders of the night sky. The waning gibbous Moon is the width of two fingers above ruddy Mars in the dawn sky.