High in the south-east, the great ship Argo Navis from Greek mythology sails across our night skies, along the sea of stars that make up the bulk of our Milky Way Galaxy. Originally a single massive constellation, in 1930 it was divided into smaller star patterns when the International Astronomical Union defined the 88 modern constellations we know today. Try identify the bright stars in the three Argo constellations: Carina (keel), Vela (sails) and Puppis (stern). Vela, or the ‘False Cross’, has been known to fool casual observers with its similar appearance to Crux in the Southern Cross, which lies further south.
Overhead towards the north, Canis Major (big dog) and Canis Minor (little dog) sit close to Orion (hunter) on either side of the Milky Way. Together the bright stars Betelgeuse (Orion), Procyon (Canis Minor) and Sirius (Canis Major) form the easily recognizable ‘Summer Triangle’ (or ‘Winter Triangle’ in the northern hemisphere).
Mars sets in the early evening around an hour after sunset and Jupiter, Saturn and Venus are prominent in the eastern morning sky, rising a few hours before sunrise. The second supermoon of the year, when the moon is at closest approach to Earth, occurs on the 19 February during full moon. The moon will be in the evening sky from the 6 to 25 February.