This month we are going to the Plaza de la Constitución in Mexico city.
Here, luminous pollution only allows us to see the Moon and the brightest stars in the night sky.
However, from this place we can distinguish February constellations and discover the most significant deep sky objects, thanks to the magic of the stellar simulation, which will allow
us to turn off lights across the city so that the cellestial mantle may fall upon us .
February still shows the best sky of the year with the spectacular winter constellations flying over our heads.
Lift up your eyes to the zenith and, at a glance, you will easily find various constellations thanks to the bright stars that make up their asterisms.
Gemini, "The twins", is very high in the sky. Its brightest stars, Castor and Pollux, will allow us to recognize the asterism from head to toe.
Castor, located fifty light years away from us, is shown to the telescope as a double star.
However, each of them forms another double system. Actually, the multiple system consists of six stars, as orbiting them we can discover a binary system of red dwarfs that orbits the set.
Descending from Castor over the "body of the twin", we will find Mebsuta, Gemini's Epsilon.
Located near is the open cluster NGC2266, formed by stars in an advanced evolutionary phase. To find it we will guide ourselves by four bright stars forming an arc along the cluster.
If we continue down to the foot of the Twin, we will reach the star Eta of Gemini, from where we will very easily locate the open cluster M35; with binoculars you can get to count up to
twelve stars, however with the telescope over three hundred can be seen.
Drawing a line between the stars Kappa and Lambda, halfway through we will find NGC 2392, the
Eskimo Nebula, showing its characteristic shape with 200-millimeter telescopes.
This image shows in detail the layers of gas of this planetary nebula, coming from the death of a star similar to the Sun in its red giant phase. The process began only ten thousand years
From Pollux we will draw a line to the star Beta in the constellation of Cancer, the Crab. A third away from the latter, the star Zeta Cancri, also known as Tegmine, is located. A double
star system through 70 mm lens telescopes that is shown triple if we look two hundred millimeters. His vision is a challenge for amateurs but worth it, as the color contrast is very beautiful.
Between the stars Delta and Gamma of Cancer is easy to see the known stellar open cluster M44, also known as "Beehive". An agglomeration of over eighty stars that is already six hundred
million years old.
Between the stars alpha and beta of this constellation we can draw an imaginary line that will help us locate, very close to the alpha, the cluster M67. Located two thousand and five hundred light years away, its more than five hundred stars are one of the oldest clusters in the
universe, born 4600 million years ago.
At dusk you can see, not very high in the sky, the star whose brightness prevails over all the others that fill the evening sky of this planet; That is Sirius, which shines with a very white light. However, in the past was seen with a reddish hue, apparently due to the presence of his companion Sirius B, a white dwarf now. Thousands of years ago was a huge red bubble of gas, come from the collapse of a red giant. Just 8 light years away, to the ancients observers from Earth it might have seemed that the brilliant "Sirius A" glowed with the color of fire.
Sirius A, an middle sized white star belonging to the constellation Canis Major, "Big Dog", is visible even in daylight.
Many civilizations before ours looked at the helicoidal rising of Sirius, when Sirius rises in the eastern horizon 60 seconds before the Sun, to develop their own calendars which identified the crops and even served the ancient Egyptians to anticipate the desired annual flooding of the Nile River.
If we move just 4 degrees south of Sirius an area equivalent to the lunar disk appears, lies M41 star formation; a beautiful open cluster formed by stars of different colors that are visible to the naked eye in dark skies.
About 8 degrees northeast of Sirius we observe with some difficulty a diffuse cloud with an oval shape, ...... this is the nebula NGC 2359, also called the Helmet of Thor, the Viking; a breeding ground for stars whose cosmic bubble in the shape of a hull is created by the stellar
wind from the massive star that is in the center of the bubble, and that sweeps around the molecular cloud.
The high position that the circumpolar constellation Ursa Major, or Big Dipper, reaches this month, will allow us the observation of a pair of galaxies, a spectacular view through simple binoculars; these are the known as M81 and M82.