Sunrise Sunset

Fri., Feb. 3 6:52 4:59

Sat., Feb. 4 6:51 5:00

Sun., Feb. 5 6:49 5:01

Mon., Feb. 6 6:48 5:03

Tues., Feb. 7 6:47 5:04

Wed., Feb. 8 6:46 5:05

Thurs., Feb. 9 6:45 5:07

Fri., Feb. 10 6:44 5:08

The gibbous moon dominates our evening sky this weekend. Every night it increases in brightness, as more and more of the moon is lit by the sun. Full moon is when the whole side of the moon facing us is lit.

Called the Snow Moon this month, the full moon rises in the east at sunset on Tuesday. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Leo.

Two days later, on Thursday night, the moon appears next to the bright red planet Mars. If you haven’t yet seen Mars rising in the east, you’ll be impressed by its brilliance. Look any time you are out around 10 p.m. or later. Mars has brightened considerably in a short time, just in the last few weeks. Mars will continue to brighten this month.

Mars reaches opposition and is closest to the Earth on March 3. Opposition takes place every two years and this time, Mars is 62 million miles away.

Jupiter and Venus

Venus is high in the west after sunset. Turn a little east and you’ll see Jupiter appearing almost overhead. Venus and Jupiter are the two brightest planets in our night sky and in the nights ahead they’ll appear closer and closer together. By the end of February, they will be so close as to catch attention.

By mid-March, the two are a close pair setting in the western sky.

Enjoy the show now. There is change nightly. Every night, the two planets appear to inch closer to each other.

Even though Venus and Jupiter appear close to each other, astronomers remind us they are not. Venus is 93 million miles away, while Jupiter is 465 million mile away. Jupiter is five time farther away from us than Venus.

Though distant, Jupiter is many times larger than Venus.