• Timothy Johnson

Planets

Late tonight, before midnight, the gibbous moon rises in the east. The moon is in the zodiacal constellation Virgo, a constellation we more often associate with spring and summer. That bright star near the moon is Spica. Spica is the main star in that constellation and it is one of the brightest in that area of the sky. Wait a little later and an even brighter celestial object appears above the horizon. It is the bright planet Saturn.

Well after the Super Bowl, late Sunday night, the show improves when both the moon and Saturn appear together. Let the last quarter moon show you where Saturn resides.

Jupiter remains the easiest planet to spot in our sky. Jupiter is quite high in the east after sunset. It approaches our zenith well before midnight. Jupiter is in the zodiacal constellation Taurus.

For most of us Mars is too close to the glare of the setting sun to be seen. An observer needs a really clear western sky to spot the red planet close to the horizon, a short time after sunset.

For those looking for Mars, there is some help. The planet Mercury will slip into visibility in the nights ahead. Mercury always hugs close to the horizon and observers will get a chance to spot it just above Mars in the week ahead. So, which is which?

Mercury outshines Mars. It is the brighter and the higher of the two. Mercury is a good deal closer to the earth and that explains its brightness. Mars is 213 million miles away. Mercury is 120 million miles away, almost half the distance and the closest to the sun.

Sunrise and Sunset
DaySunriseSunset
Fri.,Feb. 16:544:56
Sat., Feb. 26:534:58
Sun., Feb. 36:524:59
Mon., Feb. 46:515:00
Tues., Feb. 56:495:01
Wed., Feb. 66:485:03
Thurs., Feb. 76:475:04
Fri., Feb. 86:465:05

Temperatures and Precipitations
DayMax (Fº)Min (Fº)Inches
Jan. 2520110.00
Jan. 262614*0.42
Jan. 2726160.00
Jan. 2830150.00
Jan, 293628*0.20
Jan. 3049340.04
Jan. 3156490.36

Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 43º F.

 

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