Five Planets Make a Show for Oregon, Portland, Coast
(Oregon Coast) – Plenty of planets are on tap for Oregon skies, including the Portland area and the coast. Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn and even Comet Lovejoy all make guest appearances in this cosmic show in early February
The icing on the cake: Oregon Coast Beach Connection caught a couple of shooting stars on Friday night, seen even in the suburban haze of Portland. It's unknown if these are part of any shower happening right now, as there are no references to this found online.
The only problem is weather. Coming clouds over the weekend may not cooperate.
Mars is starting to appear somewhat low in the west-southwest sky just after sunset. Look for it at about 20 degrees. It's not a very bright red/orange – indeed rather faint, but astronomers say it should stand out amid the stars of the Aquarius constellation.
Venus too is not far away, but only around for about an hour and a half after sunset. It will be quite bright, however, Also, it serves as a guide to something interesting and unusual: a guidepost to Neptune. This one is awfully faint, however, say scientists, and you'll need some good optics to see it.
Neptune shows up after it grows completely dark, at least an hour and a half after sunset. Then, before Venus goes away, look about one degree to the northwest of the solar system's second planet. Through a telescope, Venus will be quite large but Neptune will still be diminutive and dim, showing a blue-gray color.
Saturn also pops in early February, appearing around dawn.
Meanwhile, Jupiter is following the Moon across the sky in this part of the month. The Moon gets full on February 4, but Jupiter continues to gain brightness over the next two days. The big red-eyed planet reaches its peak luminosity on February 6. With a telescope, it will be huge and you should be able to see clouds.
Also happening on these two days of February 5 and 6, Comet Lovejoy has not quite left the building. It is fairly faint now but still visible with even just binoculars.
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