Courtesy of EarthSky
A Clear Voice for Science
Our chart shows the western sky for about 30 minutes after sunset at middle latitudes in North American. If you are blessed with an absolutely level horizon and crystal-clear skies, you might – if you are extremely lucky – see the planets Venus and Jupiter by the horizon. At mid-northern latitudes, these planets set about 40 minutes after the sun.
You will have a much better chance of spotting the waxing crescent moon after sunset than these two planets. For much of the US, tonight’s moon will set one hour and 45 minutes (or more) after the sun. If you can catch the lunar crescent this evening, you will have caught a respectably young moon.
The new moon fell on February 13, at 8:51 p.m. Central Time. That means that many in the US will see a moon that is 48 hours old – or younger. That won’t set a young moon-sighting record, but it is a respectable accomplishment, and it may count as a personal best.
About 3% of the moon’s daylight side and 97% of its nighttime side will face Earth tonight. With binoculars, you may discern that the moon’s night side is softly aglow in earthshine – sunlight that is reflected from Earth and back to the moon.
Tonight for binoculars:
The asteroid Vesta will be flying near the Leo star Algieba (Gamma Leonis) on the nights of February 15, 16, 17 and 18. For a sky chart and more information, look ahead to our February 17 program: Asteroid Vesta at opposition on February 17.
Written by Bruce McClure
Other Links:Print This Post