Rare green comet gets closest to Earth this week
(WHSV) - A busier week this week up in the sky highlighted by a rare green comet getting close to Earth and the second full moon of 2023.
MERCURY REACHES GREATEST WESTERN ELONGATION
On Monday morning, Mercury will reach its greatest separation from the Sun which also means it will reach its maximum visibility. Mercury will be located in the southeastern sky. You’ll have a tight window to view it as the optimal viewing time will start around 6:15 am until sunrise.
THE MOON AND MARS
On Monday evening, the Moon will be located close enough to Mars for them to share the same view in a backyard telescope. The duo will be up in the southeastern sky around sunset and will move into the southern sky as the evening goes on. There will also be a time in the overnight when the Moon actually slips in front of Mars up in the sky. The duo will continue to march more west through the night and set in the west-northwestern sky at around 3 am.
COMET C/2022 E3 (ZTF) GETS CLOSER TO EARTH
The green comet that has gained a lot of attention this month will be reaching perigee on Wednesday, its closest point to the Earth. This will make the comet easiest to spot in the night sky than ever before. To best see the green comet, wait until the Moon sets so that you can have a completely dark sky. This week, that will be in the early hours before sunrise. The comet will be in the north-northwestern sky. You may be able to view the comet with the naked eye but you can see it better with binoculars or a telescope. Try to get away from city lights if you can.
FULL SNOW MOON
On Sunday, we will have our second full moon of the year known as the “Full Snow Moon.” Its name is pretty straightforward as heavy snow falls in February. On average, February is the snowiest month in the United States. Other February full moon names include the Bald Eagle Moon, Raccoon Moon, Groundhog Moon, and Goose Moon. The Cherokee named this full moon Month of the Bony Moon and Hungry Moon as food was hard to come by this time of year.
This week, we will gain 14 minutes of daylight. By February 6th, we will have 10 hours and 27 minutes of daylight and 13 hours and 33 minutes of nighttime. Sunrises will move from 7:22 am to 7:16 am and sunsets will move from 5:35 pm to 5:43 pm.
Daily Sunrise/Sunset Times this week:
|Jan 30||7:22 am||5:35 pm||10 hrs, 13 mins|
|Jan 31||7:21 am||5:36 pm||10 hrs, 15 mins|
|Feb 1||7:20 am||5:37 pm||10 hrs, 17 mins|
|Feb 2||7:20 am||5:38 pm||10 hrs, 18 mins|
|Feb 3||7:19 am||5:39 pm||10 hrs, 20 mins|
|Feb 4||7:18 am||5:40 pm||10 hrs, 22 mins|
|Feb 5||7:17 am||5:42 pm||10 hrs, 25 mins|
ISS VIEWING (MOST VIEWABLE)
|Wed Feb 1, 6:44 pm||4 min||39°||10° above NW||27° above E|
|Fri Feb 3, 6:45 pm||6 min||71°||10° above NW||12° above SE|
NEXT MOON PHASES
|Moon Phases||Date and Time|
|Full Moon||February 5th, 1:28 pm|
|Third Quarter Moon||February 13th, 11:00 am|
|New Moon||February 20th, 2:05 am|
|First Quarter Moon||February 27th, 3:05 am|
CURRENT PLANET VIEWING OPPORTUNITIES
Venus: In the southwestern sky at sunset, limited viewing, sets in the southwest around 7:30 pm
Mars: In the southeastern sky at sunset, visible most of the night, sets in the northwest around 3:30 am
Jupiter: In the southwestern sky at sunset, sets around 10 pm in the west
Saturn: In the west-southwestern sky at sunset, very limited viewing, sets in the western sky around 6:30 pm
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