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Last Week's Stargazing Tips

February 10: Brightest Stars

Look well up in the south around 9 or 10 p.m. for Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. From latitudes south of about Los Angeles, the second-brightest star, Canopus, twinkles below Sirius, quite low above the southern horizon.

February 9: Capella

Capella, the brightest star of Auriga, the charioteer, stands high overhead this evening and wheels across the northwest later on. It looks yellow with a hint of orange. It is one of the half-dozen brightest star systems in the night sky.

February 8: Sirius

The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, a white jewel in the constellation Canis Major, the big dog. It stands fairly high in the south around 9 p.m. In ancient Egypt it represented Isis, the wife of Osiris, god of the dead.

February 7: Betelgeuse

Betelgeuse, the bright orange shoulder of Orion, is high in the southeast at nightfall. The star is so huge that if it took the Sun’s place in our own solar system, it would engulf everything out to Jupiter, the fifth planet.

February 6: Faint Neighbors

Alpha Leporis, the brightest star visible in Lepus, the rabbit, is a stunner. It’s more than 30,000 times brighter than the Sun, so it’s easily visible to the unaided eye even though it’s more than 2,000 light-years away.

February 5: Lepus

Lepus, the rabbit, stands just below the feet of brilliant Orion, which is in the southeast as darkness falls. Lepus contains only a few moderately bright stars, but their proximity to Orion makes them easier to pick out.

February 4: Moon and Companions

Venus, the “morning star,” stands close to the right of Moon at first light tomorrow. The smaller, fainter planet Mercury is even closer below the Moon, although it is so low in the sky that it’s tough to spot.