Weekly Stargazing Calendar for 2011-02-07

Like the previous ones, this week will be rather uneventful, when it comes to major astronomical events, but the planets are always fun to watch. So here are their positions for this week:

Mercury: The closest planet to the Sun can be seen within the constellation of Capricornus at dawn and dusk.

Venus: The sister planet can be seen between the constellations of Ophiuchus and Sagittarius. Just like Mercury, the planet can only be seen at dawn and dusk.

Mars: The red planet can be seen at the edge of the Capricornus constellation leaning towards Aquarius.

Jupiter and Uranus: The two gas giants are visible very close to each other between the constellations of Aquarius, Pisces and Cetus. Jupiter can easily be spotted with the naked eye, even in highly illuminated cities. However for Uranus you will need a telescope.

Saturn: The ringed giant can be seen with the naked eye in the middle of the Virgo constellation, not far from the bright star Spica.

Neptune: The blue giant requires a telescope pointed between the constellations of Aquarius and Capricornus in order to be seen.

Bonus: The dwarf planet Pluto is located between the constellations of Ophiuchus and Sagittarius. The planet Venus has moved near Pluto’s position. Unfortunately you will not be able to see Pluto unless you have a telescope.

Major upcoming event: Next month, on March 20, the Sun will shine directly on the equator and there will be nearly equal amounts of day and night throughout the world. This is called an equinox.

As you know, the Moon has a big impact on the visibility of celestial bodies in the night sky. So here are the Moon’s phases for this week:

Feb. 7

Feb. 8

Feb. 9

Feb. 10

Feb. 11

Feb. 12

Feb. 13