The night sky this week

Every Monday, I select the northern hemisphere celestial high points (mid-northern latitudes) for the coming week, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses and more.

What to see in the night sky this week: February 13-19, 2023

Want to see the “green comet” tonight? It made headlines for all of 2023, but few got to see the elusive C/2022 E3 (ZTF). However, you still have a chance to catch the best comet of 2023! Details below.

With the arrival of a last quarter moon to start the week, it’s a great time to stargaze, observe planets and hunt for comets. Venus becomes brighter in the western sky after sunset, passing this week near Neptune. It’s an excuse to have your eyes on the distant eighth planet, although you need binoculars.

It’s also a great week to get up early to see a pretty crescent moon in the east, but as the nights become moonless, it’s time to spot the constellations and use a telescope to explore the deep sky.

Tracker ‘Green comet’: discover the comet this week

Where is the “green” comet tonight? Comet C/2022 E3 passed its best and faded slightly from its closest point to Earth on February 1. However, since then the Moon’s brightness has decreased, which actually makes it slightly easier to spot – if you know where to look.

Here is a very useful sky chart to help you find the “green comet” this week and beyond:

Expert tips for seeing the “Green Comet”

  • You’ll want to look to the southeast sky – find Orion’s Belt and climb higher in the night sky heading south to find Taurus and Aldebaran, the thirteenth brightest star in the night sky.
  • You’ll need binoculars, and you’ll also need to use a technique called “backdoor vision”: once you’ve found the blurry spot that is Comet C/2022 E3, look slightly away. It may seem counter-intuitive, but your outside eye will appreciate the brightness of the object better.
  • Finally, don’t expect it to be green! Its color only stands out in long exposure photos.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023: Moon and Antares

A 41%-lit waning gibbous moon will shine very close to Antares in the pre-dawn sky. Antares is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius, which lies at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy in which we live.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023: Venus and Neptune

The eighth planet from the sun isn’t particularly easy to find in the night sky, mainly because it’s so small and dark. However, tonight the super bright planet Venus will guide you there. The two planets will be only 45 inches apart in the sky after sunset. Look west as soon as it gets dark – that view will disappear in a few hours.

Thursday, February 16, 2023: Saturn behind the Sun

Farewell ringed planet! Saturn has disappeared from the evening sky for the past few weeks and is now lost in the glare of the sun. Today is on the other side of the sun. It will reappear in the morning sky next week.

Friday, February 17, 2023: Crescent Moon and Mercury Sun

Look to the southeast at dawn and you will see a waning crescent moon illuminated at 12%. Use binoculars to find Mercury in the lower left.

Object of the week: Venus

Second rock from the sun, Venus has been visible after sunset since late December and has been rising in the evening sky since after sunset. It now hangs around much longer after dark, at the end of the month it shines for about two hours before setting in the west.

The times and dates listed apply to mid-northern latitudes. For the most accurate location information, check out online planetariums such as Stellarium And The sky live. Check planet-rise/planet-set, Sunrise And moonrise/set times for where you are.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

Leave a Comment