Welcome to the 60th edition of StormTeam 11 Starwatch! This is a blog that will be posted weekly that will list events happening in the sky this week!
Monday, February 4th 2019
Tonight is the New Moon. Remember, the New Moon can’t be seen from Earth.
This week you will be able to see several stars in the sky. First, locate the constellation Orion the Hunter. Orion will be visible in the SE sky once it is dark and looks like an upright bowtie. The four stars of the rectangle make the two shoulders and two knees of Orion, while the three middle stars make the belt. The star to the upper right of Orion usually looks bright and reddish – this is Betelgeuse. Rigel is the star to the lower left and it has a blue hue. Both stars are supergiant stars, but Rigel is currently in the prime of its life, while Betelgeuse is at its end. Stars shine because atoms are fused together in the center of the star to a heavier element, creating light, heat and energy. In time, the star runs out of the usable elements and its outer shell expands, causing it to cool off. In space, a red color (like that of Betelgeuse) means it is cool, while a blue star like Rigel, means it is hot. Within the next hundred thousand years Betelgeuse will be overtaken by gravity and it will collapse, causing a supernova explosion. By the time this happens, Betelgeuse will be so bright that you will be able to see it during the day.
Thursday, February 7th 2019
You will be able to see the thin crescent moon low in the WSW sky. You will want to use binoculars after the sun has set, but during twilight, and look about 20 degrees above the horizon. The image below shows what you can expect to see:
Special thanks to Adam Thanz from Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium and Dr. Gary Henson from ETSU for this information.