This is the Saint Louis Science Center’s NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Tuesday, February 6, 2018. All times are given as local St. Louis time (Central Standard Time). For definitions of terminology used in the night sky update, click the highlighted text.

Information updated weekly or as needed.

Join us for our next star party, Friday, March 2, 2018 held in association with the St. Louis Astronomical Society. For details, see the information at the bottom of this page.

The Sun and the Moon
Sunrise is at 7:02 a.m. on Tuesday, February 6 and sunset is at 5:29 p.m. providing us with about 10.5 hours of daylight. Even after sunset, the light from the sun will still dimly illuminate our sky for about 1.5 hours. This period of time is called twilight, which ends around 6:59 p.m. this week. For those with a sun dial, solar transit or local noon occurs around 12:15 a.m. this week.

Day

Sunrise

Sunset

06 Feb

7:02 a.m.

5:29 p.m.

07 Feb

7:01a.m.

5:30 p.m.

08 Feb

7:00 a.m.

5:31 p.m.

09 Feb

6:59 a.m.

5:32 p.m.

10 Feb

6:58 a.m.

5:33 p.m.

11 Feb

6:56 a.m.

5:34 p.m.

12 Feb

6:55 a.m.

5:36 p.m.

13 Feb

6:54 a.m.

5:37 p.m.

14 Feb

6:53 a.m.

5:38 p.m.

Moonrise for Tuesday, February 6 occurs at 11:20 p.m. on the preceding day and moonset will occur at 10:50 a.m. On Tuesday, February 6 the moon will be exhibiting a waning gibbous phase with about 59% of lunar disk illuminated. Last quarter moon occurs on February 7.

International Space Station (ISS) Observing
Visible passes of ISS from St. Louis for the week of February occur in the evening hours. The best of these occurs on the evening of February 11. Use the table below for information about this and other visible passes of ISS this week.

Catch ISS flying over St. Louis starting Tuesday, February 6.

Mag

Starts

Max. altitude

Ends

Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.

07 Feb

-1.9 18:54:01 10 NNW 18:55:56 18 NNE 18:55:56 18 NNE

08 Feb

-1.6 18:02:15 10 NNW 18:03:57 13 NNE 18:05:41 10 NE

08 Feb

-1.4 19:37:45 10 NW 19:38:49 19 NW 19:38:49 19 NW

09 Feb

-3.0 18:45:43 10 NW 18:48:43 33 NNE 18:49:07 31 NE

10 Feb

-2.5 19:29:50 10 WNW 19:32:16 40 W 19:32:16 40 W

11 Feb

-3.9 18:37:34 10 NW 18:40:51 77 NE 18:42:53 21 ESE

12 Feb

-1.3 19:22:25 10 W 19:24:50 19 SW 19:26:28 14 SSW

13 Feb

-2.4 18:29:40 10 WNW 18:32:45 38 SW 18:35:48 10 SSE

Magnitude (Mag): The Measure of brightness for a celestial object. The lower the value is, the brighter the object will be.

Altitude (Alt): The angle of a celestial object measured upwards from the observer’s horizon.

Azimuth (Az): The direction of a celestial object, measured clockwise from an observer’s location with north being 0°, east being 90°, south being 180° and west being 270°.

For information about ISS flyovers and other visible satellites, visit www.heavens-above.com

Detailed information regarding all unmanned exploration of our universe, missions past, present, and planned, can be found at Jet Propulsion Laboratories: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/

The Planets Visible Without a Telescope

Mars

The red planet has started another apparition and can be found rising in the east by 2:25 a.m. Mars will be visible low in the east around 3:30 a.m. Each week Mars will rise a little earlier than the week before as we approach the 2018 Mars opposition which occurs on July 27.

If you want to start preparing for the upcoming 2018 Mars opposition follow this link: http://www.alpo-astronomy.org/jbeish/2018_MARS.htm

Jupiter

The king of the planets can be found rising by 1:13 a.m. but can be easily seen by 2:30 a.m. low in the east. Jupiter will slowly elongate away from the Sun reaching opposition on May 8, 2018.

Saturn

Saturn has been slowly climbing out of the Sun’s glare for some time now however the angle of the ecliptic in the early morning has kept the ringed planet low in the twilight soup. Saturn is now rising by 4:38 a.m. and will be an easy target by 6:00 a.m.

Our next Star Party will be held on Friday, March 2, 2018, from dusk until 10 p.m.

As part of the Saint Louis Science Center’s First Fridays, weather permitting, the St. Louis Astronomical Society and the Science Center will set up a number of telescopes outdoors and be on-hand to answer your questions. Telescope viewing begins once it is dark. Regardless of the weather on March 2, join us indoors in our planetarium theater for “The Sky Tonight”. Showtime is at 7 p.m.

This free, indoor star program will introduce you to the current night sky, the planets, and the seasonal constellations. Doors open 15 minutes before show time. Shows begins at 7 p.m. Sorry, no late admissions due to safety issues in the darkened theater.

The St. Louis Astronomical Society helps host the monthly Star Parties at the Saint Louis Science Center which are held on the first Friday of each month. Our Monthly Star Parties are open to the public and free of charge.