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S&T: Lauren Darby

Celestially speaking, there are no "night-sky spectaculars" this month — no eclipses, meteor showers, or dramatic planet pairings. But given all the beautiful winter stars arrayed in the evening sky, you won't mind at all!

Mars is starting to ascend in the east after sunset. The Red Planet reached opposition, the point in the sky opposite the Sun, on January 29th. This year's approach of Mars to Earth isn't one of its closest, but the Red Planet is still a satisfyingly bright ginger-ale-colored beacon in the sky.

There are plenty of other winter sparklers in view as well: Betelgeuse and Rigel in Orion, Aldebaran and the Pleiades in Taurus, and Sirius and Procyon marking the Hunter's dogs. Learn how to "connect the dots" among these stars to spot the giant signpost-in-the-sky known as the Winter Hexagon.

All you need to do is download February's audio sky tour. It's an 4-megabyte MP3 file that runs a bit more than 4 minutes long.


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