Today’s Video of the Day from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory reveals what will be visible in the night sky throughout the month of February.
The Orion Nebula is an enormous cloud of gas and dust where thousands of stars are being born. At around 1,500 light years away, it is the closest star-forming region to our solar system.
Around mid-month, the planet Venus will be at its brightest for this year. It will rise with Mars around 4:00 a.m. and will be visible low in the southeast until sunrise. On the morning of February 26th, Venus will form a trio with the Moon and Mars.
Venus is covered with highly reflective clouds that make it the brightest of all the planets in our solar system.
According to NASA, Venus is brightest not when it’s closest to Earth, but when it’s almost at its closest and still shows us a large, bright crescent phase.
Jupiter is currently the only bright planet left in our twilight (post-sunset) skies in February. Low in the western sky, the planet will stand alone after sunset this month. NASA reports that by the middle of the month, you can see Jupiter setting only about an hour after the Sun.
Once Jupiter departs at the end of February, there will be no planets visible to the naked eye in the twilight sky until August. NASA notes that there is a short period in April and May when you might be able to spot Mercury as it pops briefly above the horizon.
Video and Image Credit: NASA JPL