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January Skywatch

by Maya del Mar

Saturn and Mars continue as the stars of the night sky. They straddle our huge winter hexagon, which includes Taurus, Orion, the Pleiades, Auriga, Gemini, and several of our major bright stars. Red-orange Mars rises after dark, and we can see it in the south, close to the Pleiades and to reddish Aldebaran, the Eye of the Bull. Mars sits in the right side of the hexagon.

Saturn, on the other hand, sits on the eastern, or left, side of the hexagon. Golden Saturn sits above brilliant white Procyon, and below the yellowish Gemini Twins. Saturn is quite bright, and it does not twinkle, as do the stars.

The constellations in this part of the sky contain many of our brightest stars, and they are beautiful and dramatic constellations as well. To me this great hexagon it is like a giant of the winter night, overseeing and protecting us with divine energy.

You can mark it with Capella, a bright yellow star in Auriga, the highest constellation of the complex, as the top of the hexagon. Sirius, the Dog Star, the blue-green brilliant star, marks the bottom. Marking the right side are the orange Aldebaran, and below it the bluish Rigel, below and to the right of Orion’s belt.

We pass Sirius, and move up to the left, where we can pinpoint white Procyon, and above it, yellowish Pollux of Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins. Once you find this hexagon, it is unforgettable. It never fails to fill me with awe. And it is a gift of the winter sky for many weeks.

So now Mars and Saturn are in its embrace. It feels like the hexagon would magnify the effects of their rays as they pass through and linger in its vicinity.

Our third evening planet is Mercury. It is always elusive and difficult to see, but we can see it this month. Mercury is small, speedy, and is seen only close to the horizon, and close to sunset or sunrise. However, this month the evening Mercury can be good viewing if your horizon is clear. Begin to look for it after sunset on February 8, when it sinks below the horizon about 45 minutes after the sun sinks, in the very same location. It is still very low, and small, but it grows brighter and higher during the month. Mercury is furthest from the sun, thus highest, just before it turns retrograde (which it does on March 2).

Our two most brilliant planets are special treats for early morning risers. Jupiter rises about 2:00 a.m. on February 1, and earlier as the month moves along. On February 20 it is above the Last Quarter Moon. On that same morning, notice Saturn (near the Twins, setting). Think about its exact opposition to Chiron, who is now preparing to rise. Chiron and Saturn will, in fact, be very close across the horizon as they face off opposite one another.

Venus rises perhaps 2 hours before the Sun on February 1. It shines at its brightest this month. On February 24, perhaps you can see Venus and crescent Moon rise together about 5:00 a.m. Venus is now in the lefthand edge of the constellation of Sagittarius, often called the Teapot. Above and to its right is the bright white star, Altair.

This month all five planets, then, are easily visible where skies are clear and unobstructed. See if you can catch them all!
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February 2006
Table of Contents
February Daykeeper Home
Bolivia: A New Day Dawns for Latin America
Alex Miller Mignone: A Tale of Two Nominations
The War Makers: the Bush-Cheney Composite Chart
Global Warming Watch—Cape Town, Part II
Crystal's Moon Meditation: Fortify Your Gift of Independence
Daily Success Guide
February 1 through 28
Monthly Astrological Influences, February 2006
General Sun Signs,
February 2006
Skywatch—The Great Winter Hexagon
Retrograde Watch: Venus and Vesta Direct
Goddess of the Month: Kaltes
Sign of the Month: Capricorn Maya's Sun Sign Archives

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