Sunday: Venus is poking up above the southeastern horizon at about 7:10 a.m., just before sunrise. Soon it will be lost in the glare of the Sun.
Monday: Mars is five and a half fists above the south-southwest horizon at 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday: Lately the Sun has been boring. Well, except for the life-giving energy it radiates towards Earth. And the gravity that keeps us from drifting into the abyss. But there have not been very many sunspots. In fact, the recent minimum was one of the weakest in years. Many solar astronomers think the upcoming solar cycle will be weak as well. But the National Center for Atmospheric Research begs to differ. They have analyzed longer term fluctuations in the cycle and are predicting one of the strongest solar cycles in decades. Read more about the sunspot debate at https://earthsky.org/space/sunspot-cycle-25-among-strongest-on-record-says-ncar.
Wednesday: Tonight’s Full Moon is called the Full Wolf Moon since wolves tend to howl more often on the cold winter nights.
Thursday: Do you ever take photos to spy on your neighbors? The Hubble Space Telescope does. Last week, Hubble scientists released the best ever image of the Triangulum Galaxy, the second closest spiral galaxy to Earth. Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys weaved together 54 separate images to provide enough detail to see 10 million individual stars out of the estimated 40 billion stars in the galaxy. See the pictures at https://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1901/. At 7:00 p.m., the Triangulum Galaxy is six and a half fists above the southwestern horizon and two and a half fists to the upper right of Mars. The galaxy is visible with binoculars. First find Mars. Then move your binoculars to the upper right until you see two stars of similar brightness to each other, one at the top and the other at the bottom of your field of view. Continue to move your binoculars the same distance to the upper right and you will be pointing at the Triangulum Galaxy, also known as Messier 33 (M 33). If you reach a third star about the same brightness as the first two, you have moved too far.
Friday: At 10:30 p.m., the blue giant star called Adhara is one and a half fists above due south. It is the 22nd brightest star in the sky. Currently over 430 light years away, Adhara was only 34 light years away five million years ago. That proximity made it the brightest star in the nighttime sky at the time.
The positional information in this column about stars and planets is typically accurate for the entire week. For up to date information about the night sky, go to https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/planner.cfm.