Skywatching This Week: January 28-February 3

Sun and Moon

In Chicago, the SUN sets this week between 5:01 pm and 5:09 pm Central Standard Time and rises between 7:07 am and 7:01 am Central Standard Time. The MOON is in its waning gibbous phase. At the start of the week, it rises at about 7:00 pm Central Standard Time, but by the end of the week, it does not rise until after midnight. It reaches its Last Quarter phase on Sunday, February 3.

Planets

JUPITER is visible throughout the evening. SATURN can be seen in the south before sunrise.

Evening Commute

JUPITER is high in the southeast at twilight; other than the moon, it’s the brightest object in the sky. Once you find JUPITER, you will see the bright star ALDEBARAN just below it and the bright star CAPELLA to its left. The next brightest object (after JUPITER) is the star SIRIUS, which is rising in the southeast after sunset. Look toward JUPITER, then follow your eye down toward the horizon, and you can’t miss SIRIUS. Between JUPITER and SIRIUS lies the constellation Orion, with its famous three-star belt.

Other Bright Stars

Orion features the bright stars BETELGEUSE (the red-orange star on the top left) and RIGEL (the blue-white star on the lower right). Orion “stands upright” in the south by around 10:00 pm Central Standard Time. As I mentioned above, SIRIUS is below (and to the left of) Orion. The bright stars PROCYON and POLLUX are also visible; you can imagine a large arc connecting SIRIUS up and to the left to PROCYON and on to POLLUX.

The constellation Orion and other bright stars rising after sunset.
The constellation Orion and other bright stars rising after sunset. (Image courtesy Stellarium)
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