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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

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 18: Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula stands halfway up the southern sky a couple of hours after sunset right now. To the eye alone, it looks like a fuzzy star. In reality, though, it’s the birthplace of thousands of stars.

February 17: Encke’s Comet

Encke’s Comet appears in the evening sky, but you need visual aid to see it. It’s not far to the lower right of Venus, the “evening star,” in the west. The comet is dropping toward the Sun, though, so it’s a little lower in the sky each evening.

February 16: Evening Venus

Venus shines as the “evening star,” well up in the west as night falls. The planet is at its most brilliant for its current evening appearance the next couple of nights, shining more than 20 times brighter than the brightest true star in the night sky.

February 15: More Moon, Jupiter, Spica

The brilliant planet Jupiter and the star Spica stand above the Moon as they climb into good view in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. Jupiter is the brightest object in the night sky other than the Moon and the planet Venus.

February 14: Moon, Jupiter, Spica

Three bright celestial objects climb into good view late this evening: the Moon, the planet Jupiter, and the star Spica. Brilliant Jupiter is below the Moon, with fainter Spica to the lower right of Jupiter.

February 13: Vela

The constellation Vela sails quite low across the southern horizon around midnight, but only from about the southern half of the United States. From the northern states, it stays below the horizon and out of sight.