Starting Feb. 2, zodiacal light, sunlight scattered or reflected by interplanetary dust, will be visible in western evening sky for the next two weeks. On Feb. 7 the last-quarter moon with be 6° northwest of Jupiter at dawn. On Feb. 9 the waning crescent moon will be 4° northeast of Mars, and Mars will be roughly 5° north of the reddish star Antares (whose name means “rival of Mars”) at dawn. On Feb. 11 the waning crescent moon will be 2° above Saturn at dawn. In late February Venus emerges low in the west at dusk and gleams at magnitude –3.9, reigning as the evening “star” for much of the rest of 2018. Mars will be low in the southeast at dawn in February. Jupiter is in Libra in the morning sky, and Saturn in Sagittarius at dawn. The Straight Wall (Rupes Recta), a linear fault on the moon in the southeastern part of the Mare Nubium (Sea of Clouds), will be visible in the evening of Feb. 23. The name is Latin for “straight cliff,” and it is the most well-known escarpment on the moon and a popular target for amateur astronomers.
On Feb. 9 at 7:30pm, the Sunshine Coast Centre presents two speakers at the Arts Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt. The first is Sean Dougherty, director of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, who in two months will be taking over as the director of the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile. Sean’s topic will be Canada’s telescopes. The second is Jeremy Heyl from UBC, whose topic is precision astronomy, how measuring which stars are where can tell how stars collide, how stars die, how dead stars glow and what our future holds.
Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.
The Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC is now offering the Explore the Universe Observing Program to the public for free. This is open to both the public and members, and can be accomplished using nothing more complicated than binoculars. On completion, you earn a certificate and observers pin. Contact the Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the national RASC site here for details: https://www.rasc.ca/explore-universe.