Night Sky February 2023: Visible Planets, Stars, Moon
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What can you see in the night sky tonight?
January 25, 2023
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What can you see in the night sky for February 2023? Almanac astronomy Bob Berman focuses on the celestial events that you can easily see with the naked eye—visible plants, the Moon, and bright stars.
Below are the highlights of the night sky by date. We’ll add more detail as the month progresses!
Visible Planets February 2023
As evening twilight fades on the 1st, Saturn may finally be too low, its long evening star apparition ending.
On the 3rd, the Moon meets Pollux, the brighter of the legendary Gemini twins. Mars, dimming but still very bright at magnitude –0.2, remains above Taurus’s famous orange star, Aldebaran, and outshines it.
From the 7th to the 28th, brightening Venus draws closer to Jupiter.
On the 27th, the crescent Moon closely meets Mars, while Venus and Jupiter come together nearby.
On the 28th, the night’s brightest stars begin to merge to create an amazing configuration. This Venus/Jupiter conjunction shouldn’t be missed, although they are so low in the fading evening twilight that they require a totally unblocked western horizon for viewing.
Here at the Almanac, we’ve long called February’s Moon the ”Snow Moon” due to the typically heavy snowfall that occurs in February. Other Native American names for this Moon are: Make Branches Fall Into Pieces Moon, Raccoon Moon, and Hunger Moon. Read more about the February Snow Moon here!
The brighter constellation in the night sky is Orion, the Hunter of Greek mythology. Look first for that bright belt of three stars. The hunter’s shoulder is marked its bright red star Betelgeuse and its knee is marked by blue-white star Rigel. See our February Sky Map all about the constellation Orion.
Follow the belt of Orion down and left to find blue-white Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. Sirius lies in the constellation Canis Major, the Great Dog and companion to Orion. See my tips on finding Sirius, the brightest star of the February sky.
Use Orion’s three Belt stars to point northwest to the red star Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster, then to the Pleiades star cluster.
Then travel southeast from the Belt stars to the brightest star in the night sky, Sirius. Above and left of Sirius is another bright star, a yellowish giant named Procyon. Procyon is part of the constellation Canis Minor, the smaller dog and Orion’s second companion. Procyon, Sirius, and Betelgeuse form a geometrical pattern called the Winter Triangle.
This is also a good time to view the Big Dipper far above the northeast horizon. It will climb upward during the evening hours to reach its high point for the night around midnight. Draw a line from its two end bowl stars upwards to the Polaris, the North Star. See my tips on finding the Big Dipper and the North Star.