THE BIG SKY
FEBRUARY USHERS IN a spectacular gathering of nature’s finest for boat dwellers. The party begins on February Eve at 6pm. As darkness descends, look to your southwest for a trio of celestial delights – a ridiculously bright Venus atop a thin crescent moon with the delicate orange-pink hue of Mars across to the left. Use your imagination and the whole gathering might look like a giant but rather lob-sided smiley face in the sky.
Same time on 1 February, our smile is rearranged into a straightforward line containing the moon top left, Venus bottom right and Mars sandwiched between. Mars and Venus are, in fact, at their closest point in the sky to each other for this year on 2 February, by which time the moon has climbed away, stretching the line.
February funtime continues for early risers. Cast a bleary eye to the south at 5am to catch Jupiter’s dazzling light. It sits atop another bright star – and no, your sleepy eyes don’t deceive. That star beneath really is blue. For a more pleasing view, try 5am on 15 and 16 February when a waning moon adds a touch more drama to this early morning scene.
Look for a giant smiley face beaming down on 31 January. Image Seb Jay