Last updated: June 01. 2013 11:28AM - 107 Views
Chuck Hemrick
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Deep sky objects, planets and a comet … February nights present great stargazing opportunities!

Bundle up and keep warm while you get outside for stargazing fun!

The dark skies presented by a new moon on the evening of February 10th present a great, albeit chilly, opportunity to get great views of deep space objects in larger telescopes.

The planet Mercury will be at its best for viewing on the evening of February 16th. Look for it low in the southwest skies about 30 minutes after sunset. You may want to use binoculars to pick Mercury out from the sunset’s glow!

Jupiter will be a splendid sight for stargazers throughout February. Look for Jupiter in the constellation Taurus in the western sky. It will be a great planetary target for telescopes.

Watch for the star cluster Pleides,which will be high in the northwestern sky in February. It’s visible to the unaided eye, but the open star cluster is a spectacular sight in binoculars.

Around 9 p.m. throughout February almost due south and about halfway up from the horizon, the constellation Orion will be in a terrific viewing position. Use binoculars or a telescope and look in the area below the three recognizable stars of Orion’s belt for a great view of the striking Orion nebula.

There is a comet to catch! Comet C 2011 will hopefully be a spectacular sight if it survives its approach to the Sun. This intriguing sight is creating excitement in the astronomical community, and we’re hoping it stays intact to put on a spectacular show in the Northern Hemisphere skies starting in March 2013.

Please send questions or comments to: Backyard Astronomy, c/o The Stokes News, P.O. Box 647, Walnut Cove, NC 27052.

Information: Skywatch 2013.

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