Venus and Mars remain steady companions in the early evening sky this month. Venus, the Evening Star, is the brighter of the two, with orange Mars staying just above it. One of the first signs of spring, the constellation Leo, begins poking its nose into the eastern evening sky, and clears the horizon by around nightfall at month’s end.
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In the Sky This Month
February 19: Moon and Saturn
The planet Saturn is in good view at dawn the next couple of days. It looks like a bright golden star, and will stand close to the lower left of the Moon tomorrow, and about the same distance to the right or upper right of the Moon on Tuesday.
February 20: Orion
Orion, perhaps the most beautiful of all constellations, stands high in the south as night falls. It’s outlined by a rectangle of four bright stars, with a short diagonal line of three stars at its middle.
February 21: Taurus
Taurus, the bull, saunters high across the sky tonight. He is one of the oldest constellations and one of the easiest to spot. Look for a V-shaped pattern of stars with a bright orange star at one point of the V. That’s Aldebaran, the bull’s eye.
February 22: Winter Circle
Some of the brightest stars in the night sky form the Winter Circle, a jewel-studded cosmic necklace that fills much of the southern sky. Look for it as the sky gets nice and dark. The circle’s hub is bright orange Betelgeuse in Orion the hunter.
February 23: Zeta Puppis
Zeta Puppis, the brightest star of Puppis, the poop deck, is due south about 10 p.m., far to the lower left of brilliant Sirius and just above the horizon. Zeta Pup is one of the hottest stars around, tens of thousands of degrees hotter than the Sun.
February 24: Sirius and Canopus
The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, the Dog Star. It is low in the south right now. If you live in the southern United States, look for Canopus, the second-brightest star, well to the south of Sirius.
February 25: Mars and Uranus
The planet Uranus stands quite close to the upper left of Mars tonight, which itself is to the upper left of Venus, the “evening star.” Through binoculars, Uranus looks like a faint star. Mars and Uranus will stand side by side tomorrow night.