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  • February 12, 2018

Planets visible to the naked eye - February 12, 2018

  • Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan
Photo: Sophie Desrosiers

From February 12 to 26, 2018

Mercury is too close to the sun and is not visible currently. From our point of view, the tiny planet passes behind the Sun (superior conjunction) on February 17. It will reappear in the evening sky in early March.

Venus gradually reappears at dusk, 15 to 20 minutes after sunset, very low in the west-southwest; the bright Evening Star sets shortly thereafter. Binoculars may be of aid at first, but over the coming weeks Venus will become easier to locate with the naked eye as it slowly pulls away from the Sun’s glare. On the evening of February 15, try to catch the thin crescent moon, just 2 degrees to the upper left of Venus.

Mars rises in the southeast around 3 a.m., and climbs above the south-southeast horizon at dawn. The Red Planet currently shines between bright Jupiter to its right, and Saturn to its left. On the morning of March 10, the crescent moon appears between Mars and Saturn, completing a large, flattened triangle with the two planets.

Jupiter appears above the east-southeast horizon around 1 a.m. and culminates 27 degrees high in the south at the first light of dawn. On the morning of March 7, the waning gibbous Moon hangs less than 3 ½ degrees above bright Jupiter.

Saturn emerges above the southeast horizon around 4:30 a.m., and gains some height during dawn until it becomes lost in the brightening glow of approaching sunrise. On the morning of March 10, the crescent moon appears between Mars and Saturn, drawing a wide, flattened triangle with the two planets. The next day, March 11, the lunar crescent shines 4 degrees to the left of the Ringed Planet.

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