NASA top tips for sky viewing in February

February gives the last chance to see Jupiter before the rest of the sky after sunset, according to NASA’s top recommendations for viewing the sky this month. The coming weeks also give the world a chance to witness a very bright Venus, and to see the starry cloud of more than 1,000 years of light from Earth – all visible with naked eyes.

Jupiter

With Saturn and Venus soon lost from view, Jupiter is currently the only planet visible in the night sky. But by the end of February, that will disappear, too. So drink when you can.

To see Jupiter, take a small look at the sky in the west shortly after sunset, although note that by mid-February, the earth would have already entered an hour after sunset.

Jupiter in the night sky in February.
NASA

When Jupiter leaves, our solar system will not have naked planets for the first time since 2018. Planets will begin to pop up again in August with Saturn rising in the east around the sunset, although NASA indicates that there is a short period of time in April and May when you may be able to see Mercury as it appears briefly above the sky. In the case of Jupiter, it will return in April, but as the morning world.

Venus

If you are a starter early, February offers a great opportunity to see Venus, with its light in the next four weeks high in the middle of the month. It wakes up around 4 in the morning and can be seen down in the southeast until sunset.

“Venus is the brightest of all the planets in our solar system because of the high glossy clouds that completely cover your entire universe,” NASA explainsadding that its light seen from Earth depends on both the Earth’s distance and level.

The space agency also recommends finding out for three missions involving Venus, the moon, and Mars on the morning of February 26.

Orion Nebula

The Orion Nebula – also known as the Great Nebula – is a huge cloud of gas and dust that hosts the birth of new stars. In fact, around 1,500 years of light from Earth, the Great Nebula has the largest star-shaped area closest to our solar system.

“The bright, central region of the Orion Nebula is a large hole in the cloud emitted by intense ultraviolet light from very large young stars,” NASA said.

To see the Orion Nebula, start by finding the three stars of the hunting belt, and then the stars hanging below you that become Orion’s sword. These astronomical applications can help you find a hunting belt if you are not sure what it looks like.

NASA says that in the center of this constellation, the nebula is in the middle of “seeing the kind of ring.”

Orion Nebula as seen from Earth.
NASA

You can see with the naked eye, although the binoculars will of course give you a clear view. Even better, NASA says that if it could be seen by a telescope, “it is a sight you will never forget.”

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