The February Evening Sky – 2019 – Astronotes

April 18, 2019 - Comment

Article written by: Ria Mee, Training Officer Lastly, we’ve got left the January blues behind us, the month that by no means appears to finish. Now it’s time for February enjoyable! The chilliness within the air has effectively and actually settled in and it appears like it is going to be staying with us for

Article written by: Ria Mee, Training Officer

Lastly, we’ve got left the January blues behind us, the month that by no means appears to finish. Now it’s time for February enjoyable! The chilliness within the air has effectively and actually settled in and it appears like it is going to be staying with us for some time but. Let’s simply hope there’s no snow, though lovely it’s not very sensible, we’re not very effectively outfitted for coping with the snow! Nevertheless, there’s a silver lining because the February evening sky has a few of the most well-known constellations seen.

At first of this month there might be a New Moon, 4th February, so that is the right time to go stargazing because the Moon might be positioned on the identical aspect of the Earth because the Solar and so not seen within the evening sky. Because of this the sky is way darker making it a lot simpler to see fainter objects. This makes it the right time to go planet recognizing. For these early risers each Venus and Jupiter are seen from a South Easterly path round 5.15am.  Whereas Mars continues to be seen from roughly 5.30pm dealing with in a Westerly path though fairly low on the horizon. Let’s simply hope that there isn’t an excessive amount of cloud cowl.

Throughout this darkish month, on 19th February we’re handled to a Supermoon, in reality the brightest this 12 months. A Supermoon is a Full Moon, at its very closest method to Earth within the Moon’s elliptical orbit round us. This would be the second of the three Supermoons this 12 months, however this Supermoon would be the closest to Earth at a mere 356,846 km away. So be sure to take this chance to witness it, as you’ll have to wait one other eight years to see a Supermoon pretty much as good as this one! 

Taurus the Bull. The second brightest star in Taurus is Elnath marking the bulls proper horn. Credit score: Stellarium/Ria Mee/Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

This February we will see some of the fashionable constellations within the evening sky, in reality it is likely one of the indicators of the Zodiac and this creature has two very pointed horns. This spectacular constellation is Taurus the Bull and in Greek mythology Taurus was the God Zeus who had disguised himself as a powerful white bull in order that he might abduct the attractive princess Europa. The star marking the purple eye of the bull is a shiny star known as Aldebaran. Aldebaran is roughly 150 instances greater than our Solar and is roughly 65 mild years away from Earth. This purple large star is nearing the tip of its life, because it has depleted all of its hydrogen provide and is presently increasing in dimension. Aldebaran means the ‘follower’ because it seems to comply with a close-by star cluster throughout the sky. This star cluster known as the Pleiades or extra generally know because the Seven Sisters.

The Pleiades Star Cluster is believed to have fashioned 100 million years in the past and is roughly 425 mild years away. Credit score: Davide De Martin & the ESA/ESO/NASA Photoshop FITS Liberator

The Pleiades is a comparatively younger cluster of stars. As these age they may unfold out into the encompassing Galactic area. We are able to use the Pleiades to check how clear our evening sky is. You might be fortunate to see six stars within the cluster, as not even the keenest sighted individual could make out its seven brightest stars. Nevertheless, via a telescope you possibly can see lots of of stars on this cluster, however in reality lengthy publicity pictures taken by the Hubble House telescope have revealed over 1,000 stars. The mythology behind the seven sister is considerably merciless. The story goes that the dad and mom of the seven sisters requested Zeus to put the sisters within the heavens in order that they might escape Orion the Hunter who was desperately attempting to purse them. (Now we have beforehand talked about Orion in our December’s evening sky and even then, he was as much as no good!). Sadly, little did the dad and mom know that Orion can be positioned so near the sisters within the evening sky!

Gemini the twins, also referred to as Castor and Pollux in Greek and Roman Mythology, are considered the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo’s fireplace. Credit score: Stellarium/Ria Mee/Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

Wanting South we will see one other zodiacal constellation, Gemini, which implies twins in Latin, the 2 shiny stars mark the heads of the dual boys, known as Castor and Pollux. Pollux is the brighter of the 2 and positioned 34 mild years away nonetheless Castor is extra fascinating as a result of via a robust telescope it reveals a a number of star system of six stars. In Greek mythology the dual boys had two totally different fathers. Pollux was the son of Zeus and due to this fact was immortal whereas Castor’s father was a human being, the king of Sparta known as Tyndareus. Throughout battle Castor was killed and Pollux was so devastated by his brother’s demise that he requested his father to be along with his brother at all times. So, there we will see the dual brothers hand-in-hand, endlessly within the heavens.

To complete off there’s a very fascinating object positioned inside Gemini constellation the known as the Eskimo Nebula found by in 1787 by astronomer William Hershel and it’s roughly 2,870 mild years away from Earth. Sadly, you’ll need a telescope to see it as it’s invisible to the bare eye. The origins of its title come from its resemblance to a face peering out of a coat with a furry hood, a little bit bit like an Eskimo. Nevertheless, it typically will get known as the Clown Face Nebula, however you possibly can resolve which title fits greatest.

There we’ve got it, one other Evening Sky Weblog. I’d encourage you all to lookup on the wonders of the evening sky, climate dependent after all. Comfortable star gazing of us!!

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