Yukon Sky Report – February 2023
By: Shale Davis
Comet C/2022 E3
The Green Comet has a busy schedule this February. First on the agenda it will reach it’s minimum distance from the earth at 45 million kilometres away. This will happen on the 1st , around this time C/2022 E3 should appear at it’s brightest. Unfortunately The Moon will be nearly full making things more difficult.
Early in the morning of the 6th C/2022 E3 will skim by the constellation Auriga. Late in the evening of the 10th it will be very close to the planet Mars. Finally on the 14th The Green Comet will zip close to the Hyades star cluster, although probably having dimmed considerably by this point it could still make for an interesting photographic opportunity.
Starting on the 1st we find a Waxing Gibbous Moon slowly making it’s way out of Taurus and into Gemini, then on the 5th it will have reached Full Moon at which time you can find it locked in the jaws of the constellation Leo. The Moon will then rise fifty minuets later with each passing day until on the 20th it will Become a New Moon.
In the days that follow you can expect The Moon to appear as a narrow crescent low to the west, just above the setting Sun. On the 22nd just before 8:00 PM The Moon will be visiting Jupiter passing within 1.98 degrees of the gas giant. Only five days later on the 27th The Moon will be repeating a similar feat this time with the Red Planet. The impressive duo will reach a minimum separation of only 0.31 degrees from each other. They will be at their closest at around 9:30 PM.
Mercury- The innermost planet Mercury will unfortunately not be visible this month.
Venus- The hellish planet Venus will be observable throughout the entire month appearing low to the South west shortly following sunset.
Mars- Having dimmed significantly in the last few months Mars is already very high in the sky by the time the Sun sets. Although not at it’s best Mars is still a worthy telescopic target appearing like a fuzzy red golf ball.
Jupiter- The massive planet Jupiter which has been lighting up the Yukon night sky for many months is finally on it’s way out but not before putting on a little show with the planet Venus. Throughout the month Jupiter will be drawing closer and closer to the sun. On the 1st of March Jupiter and Venus will be very close together 0.48 degrees. Assuming clear skies definitely take a moment to view this astronomical phenomenon.
Saturn- The ringed planet Saturn will not be visible this month.
Uranus- An interesting target no doubt Uranus is visible in the night sky however you will need some kind of star chart if you wish to observe this peculiar planet.
Neptune- Due mostly to it’s close proximity to the sun and low brightness Neptune in not an easy target this month.
There are no meteor showers to report this month.
Deep Sky Objects
This month the mighty Orion Nebula will be easily visible. The Orion Nebula is the brightest nebula in the sky with most people mistaking it for a star.
Upon Inspection with even small binoculars it’s true form is revealed, a vast swirling cloud of dust with visible depth and different shades of grey. At it’s centre The Orion Nebula contains tight formation of four stars known as the Trapezium.