February's astronomy podcast offers you a trio of bright planets to spot before dawn and a plethora of bright stars to check out each evening.

February is often the coldest month of the year for northerners, but the Sun is telling a different story. The December solstice came and went several weeks ago, and you can already notice that the days are getting longer, with earlier sunrises and later sunsets. But the stars of winter are still firmly in control of the nighttime firmament.

For example, have you ever heard of an enormous six-sided pattern, called the Winter Hexagon? It involves a set of bright stars that are easy to find no matter how bad your light pollution. This month's astronomy podcast explains how to find them.

Mars and Antares in Scorpius
Look south as dawn begins to brighten to catch the waning Moon stepping past Jupiter and Mars over Scorpius.
Sky & Telescope

Meanwhile, the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars are conspicuous in the sky before dawn. Jupiter is brightest (and getting brighter). Mars is perched near an interesting star that's both very much unlike this planet and yet in some ways very similar.

To get the inside track on what to look for and when, play or download the monthly astronomy podcast linked below.


Image of Graham-Wolf


February 2, 2018 at 8:54 pm

Hi Kelly...

Tropical Cyclone Fehi trashed my city and the Lunar Eclipse earlier this week.
Civil Defence Emergency now lifted... thousands of sand bags taken away (for next time).
And... on the north-western city outskirts, we also had a huge forest fire the same day, just a few hours earlier! A bit of pyro-cumulus to add to the overcast cloudy skies, and high winds, and torrential rains. We even got 22mm in just 40 minutes on Thursday morning.
The forthcoming lunar-planetary alignments/conjunctions you have just described will be an all too welcome consolation prize. Awaiting the Mars Opposition later this year!

This trash weather doesn't last forever, you know.
Keep up the good work at S&T!

Graham W. Wolf
46 South, Dunedin, NZ

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Image of Erik-Yates


February 9, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Kelly, thanks for the podcast--it's great to hear while making coffee or getting breakfast ready, but I miss READING! There is a movement toward so much video and audio on the net which is fine, but often I find that I can locate what I need in a piece or get through a piece when there is a text. Is there any chance you can add a link to the transcript of each podcast? Thanks so much!

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