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For those at southerly latitudes, Canopus!

Look for Canopus below Sirius.  You'll see it only if you are far enough south on Earth's globe.  These are the two brightest stars visible from Earth!

Look for Canopus below Sirius. You’ll see it only if you are far enough south on Earth’s globe. These are the two brightest stars visible from Earth!

Here’s a star that northern stargazers rarely see. It’s Canopus, and it’s the second brightest star in the entire sky. You won’t see this star from the northern U.S. or similar latitudes. Northern skywatchers who travel south for the winter – or people in latitudes like those in the southern U.S. – enjoy watching this star. For the southern U.S., Canopus appears below Sirius this month in the southern evening sky.

Venus Valentina

The arrows through the planets show their motion over 5 days, relative to the starry background.

The arrows through the planets show their motion over 5 days, relative to the starry background.

Valentine’s Day morning is one of the last for seeing the two inner planets together as they stoop toward the sun.

Uncertainties, still, for asteroid 2013 TX68

This illustration shows the expected position in the sky of asteroid 2013 TX68 as of February 14,2016. If you were looking at the sun, you'd see the asteroid to one side of it. That's because the space rock is approaching Earth from the sun direction, and that's why its orbit has been impossible to determine exactly. Illustration by Eddie Irizarry using Stellarium.

Position in sky of asteroid 2013 TX68 as of February 14, 2016. If you are looking at the sun, the asteroid is to one side of it. The space rock is approaching Earth from the sun direction, and that’s why its orbit has been impossible to determine exactly. Illustration by Eddie Irizarry using Stellarium.

UPDATE February 13, 2016. Astronomers haven’t exactly been biting their nails about asteroid 2013 TX68. Although the asteroid’s trajectory is highly uncertain, they’ve never thought the asteroid would hit Earth when it passes closest in early March. The space rock is currently approaching Earth from the sun’s direction. It passes to the night sky between late February and early March. Exciting, yes?

Black hole is sleeping giant

This image shows the elliptical galaxy NGC 4889 in front of hundreds of background galaxies, and deeply embedded within the Coma galaxy cluster. Well-hidden from human eyes, there is a gigantic supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy. Image credit: NASA & ESA

This image shows the elliptical galaxy NGC 4889 in front of hundreds of background galaxies, and deeply embedded within the Coma galaxy cluster. Well-hidden from human eyes, there is a gigantic supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy. Image credit: NASA & ESA

At the heart of galaxy NGC 4889 lurks one of the most massive black holes ever discovered. Astronomers think this giant has stopped feeding and is now resting.

Sea ice and cloud streets in Sea of Okhotsk

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of cloud streets and sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk on Feb. 8, 2016.  Image via NASA/ LANCE/EOSDI.

NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this image of cloud streets and sea ice in the Sea of Okhotsk on Feb. 8, 2016. Image via NASA/ LANCE/EOSDI.

Have you heard of cloud streets? NASA says:

They are long parallel bands of cumulus clouds that form when cold air blows over warmer waters and a warmer air layer (temperature inversion) rests over the top of both.

Moon receding tonight in 2 ways

2016-february-13-moon-aries-hamal

When you see tonight’s moon, you might enjoy knowing it’s in the part of its orbit that’s carrying it away from Earth. What’s more, over the long course of time, the moon’s mean distance from Earth is increasing as well.

Video: The science of kissing

Today’s Friday FAQ: Why do we kiss? Well, duh, because it feels good. But why does it feel good?

Moon and Uranus in Pisces February 12

View larger. | José Luis Ruiz Gómez in Almería, Spain captured Uranus near the moon last month.  He wrote:

View larger. | José Luis Ruiz Gómez in Almería, Spain captured Uranus near the moon last month, on January 15, 2016. He wrote: “Why not try?”

Tonight – February 12, 2016 – the waxing crescent moon and planet Uranus, the seventh planet outward from the sun, float in front of the constellation Pisces the Fishes. Although Uranus will remain within Pisces’ borders for the rest of this year, the moon will leave Pisces after a few more days.

Young moon in evening sky

View larger. | Young moon on February 10, 2016 by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann in France.

View larger. | Young moon on February 10, 2016 by Jean-Baptiste Feldmann in France.

After storms and high winds in England, France and Germany this week, a moment of serenity with a crescent moon.

Gravitational waves’ new window on cosmos

EarthSky News with Deborah Byrd for February 11, 2016. To say that this morning’s announcement of the detection of gravitational waves was momentous is an understatement. At the announcement in Washington D.C. this morning, scientists struggled to find powerful-enough words to convey their excitement.