February 18, 2023: The dawn sky has the brightest stars in the northern celestial hemisphere. After sunset, Venus approaches Jupiter and Mars travels east with Taurus.
By Jeffrey L Hunt
Chicago, IL: Sunrise, 6:42 a.m. CST; Sunset, 5:27 p.m. CST. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location. Times calculated from the US Naval Observatory mica Computer program.
Transit times of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, when it is at the planet’s center in the Southern Hemisphere: 0:22 UTC, 10:18 UTC, 20:13 UTC. Convert the time to your timezone. In the US, subtract five hours for EST, six hours for CST, and so on. Use the telescope to see the spot. times of Sky and telescope magazine.
Here are the forecasts for today’s planet:
The dawn sky this morning is devoid of the moon or any bright planets. Some ephemeris predict that Mercury and the Moon are close together. The moon rises 5 minutes before sunrise and Mercury follows. When they are higher in the sky, they are bathed in the bright light of dawn.
An hour before sunrise, look high in the southwest for Arcturus, the brightest kite-shaped star in Boötes. This morning’s chart shows stars that are darker than what can be seen from typical urban and suburban skies.
Arcturus – meaning “guardian of the bear” – is the brightest star in the northern half of the sky. The sky can be thought of as two halves, such as the northern and southern hemispheres divided by the equator. The celestial equator in the sky – above the equator – similarly delineates the two stellar hemispheres.
Along with Sirius – the brightest nighttime star in the evening sky – Arcturus is the second-brightest star visible from mid-northern latitudes. Sirius is less than 10 light-years away while Topaz Arcturus is nearly four times that distance. Arcturus’ intrinsic brightness is about five times that of Sirius.
In Celestial Artwork, Boötes chases the Big Dipper, the seven brightest stars that make the Big Dipper, around the sky. The character is sometimes drawn as a shepherd or farmer shaking a machete at a bear.
Corona Borealis – the northern crown – is located to the upper left of Arcturus. The constellation looks like a tierra or a bowl. Its brightest star, Alphecca, is about as bright as the Big Dipper’s stars.
In his paper on star names and their meanings, George A. Davis Jr.: “Alfaka from the Arabic word, al-fakkah, ‘broken or broken’ (the word does not mean ‘dish’ or ‘bowl’), which is the older name for the constellation among Arabic-speakers, and refers to the incomplete or broken circle of stars, which resulted in This leads to the emergence of the names of the qasat al-masakin, “the bowl of the beggars”, and the qasat al-sa’ik: “the bowl of the poor or destitute” (pg. 11).
After sunset, Venus continues to approach Jupiter. Forty-five minutes after sunset, the Evening Star rises about 15° in the west-southwest, and 11.3° in the lower left of bright Jupiter.
Jupiter is moving slowly eastward on Cetus, near the border of Pisces. Venus, rapidly moving east, overtakes the Jovian giant. The gap is closed within 10 degrees in two nights. The amazing conjunction occurs on March 1St.
Look up every clear night to discover Venus closing in on Jupiter.
High in the Southeast, Mars, the third brightest evening planet, is traversing east in front of Taurus. It is located 9.6° upper left of Aldebaran and 8.0° upper right of Ennath. Wait another fifteen minutes, at least, to see the faint background stars, including the Pleiades star cluster, the Hyades star cluster, and Zeta Tauri, the southern horn of Taurus.
As Earth moves away from Mars, the Red Planet is dimming. It is slightly darker than Capella and marginally brighter than Aldebaran. The slow dimming continues as the planet moves east.