Every Monday I pick the Northern Hemisphere Celestial Highlights (mid-northern latitudes) for the week ahead, but be sure to check my main feed for more in-depth articles on stargazing, astronomy, eclipses, and more.
What to See in the Night Sky This Week: February 13-19, 2023
Want to see the “green comet” tonight? It’s been in the news all year 2023, but few people have gotten to see the elusive C/2022 E3 (ZTF). However, you still have a chance to catch the best comet of 2023! Details below.
With the arrival of a crescent moon to start the week, it’s a good time to stargaze, observe planets and hunt for comets. Venus is getting brighter in the post-sunset western sky, this week passing close to Neptune. It’s an excuse to lay eyes on the eighth and farther planet, although you’ll need binoculars.
It’s also a great week to wake up early to see a lovely crescent moon in the east, although as the nights turn moonless it’s time to pick constellations and use a telescope to explore the deep sky.
‘Green comet’ tracker: See the comet this week
Where is the “green” comet tonight? Comet C/2022 E3 is past its prime and has faded slightly from its closest approach to Earth on February 1. .
Here’s a really handy sky map to help you find the “green comet” this week and beyond:
Expert tips for seeing the ‘green comet’
- You’ll want to look at the southeast sky – find Orion’s Belt and go higher in the night sky towards the south to find Taurus and Aldebaran, the thirteenth brightest star in the night sky.
- You’ll need binoculars, and you’ll also have to use a technique called “deflected vision” – once you’ve found the fuzzy piece that is comet C/2022 E3, look away from it a bit. This may seem counter-intuitive, but your outer eye will appreciate the object’s brightness better.
- Finally, don’t expect it to be green! Its color only comes out in long exposure photos.
Tuesday, February 14, 2023: Moon and Antares
A waning moon at 41% illuminance will shine very close to Antares in the predawn sky. Antares is the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpio, which is at the heart of the Milky Way in which we live.
Wednesday, February 15, 2023: Venus and Neptune
The eighth planet from the sun isn’t particularly easy to find in the night sky, mainly because it’s so small and dark. However, tonight, the super-bright planet Venus will guide you to it. The two planets will be only 45” apart in the post-sunset sky. Look west as soon as it gets dark – this view will disappear in a few hours.
Thursday, February 16, 2023: Saturn behind the Sun
Goodbye, ringed planet! Saturn has fallen from the night sky in recent weeks and is now lost in the sun’s glare. Today is on the other side of the sun. It will resurface in the morning sky next week.
Friday, February 17, 2023: Crescent Moon and Sun Mercury
Look to the southeast at early dawn and you’ll see a waning crescent moon at 12% brightness. Use binoculars to find Mercury in the lower left corner.
Object of the week: Venus
The second rock from the sun, Venus has been visible after sunset since late December and rising into the post-sunset night sky ever since. It is now much longer after dark, towards the end of the month shining for about two hours before setting in the west.
Times and dates shown apply to mid-northern latitudes. For more accurate location-specific information, see online planetariums like Stellarium It is the sky live. To check planet-ascension/planet-set, Sunrise Sunset It is moonrise/set times to where you are.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.