Starwatch

by Deane Morrison

For a short month, February packs a lot of celestial delights.

In the southwest, Venus outshines everything but the moon. For months the brilliant planet has been moving closer to Mars, the dimmer object to its upper left, but in the first few days of February it changes course and begins to drop toward the sun’s afterglow

Venus also waxes brighter, reaching a peak on the 17th. On that day it will appear in telescopes as a crescent, only about a quarter lit. Venus’s brightening and its motion in the sky both happen because it is swinging closer to Earth. It completes its fall into the sunset in March, when it zips between Earth and the sun.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

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