Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Sky Tonight via Sky & Telescope

January 25, 2013

Around 10 p.m. this week (depending on how far east or west you live in your time zone), brilliant Sirius is at its highest due south.

Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky — and are you far enough south to see the second brightest, Canopus? In one of the many interesting coincidences that devoted skywatchers know about, Canopus lies almost due south of Sirius: by 36°. That's far enough south that it never appears above your horizon unless you're below latitude 37° N (southern Virginia, southern Missouri, central California). And there, you'll need a flat south horizon. Canopus transits the sky's north-south meridian just 21 minutes before Sirius does.

When to look? Canopus is at its highest point when Beta Canis Majoris — Mirzim, the star a few finger-widths to the right of Sirius — is at its highest point crossing the meridian. Look straight down from Mirzim then.

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