Moon at aphelion February 25th

On February twenty fifth, the Moon‘s monthly orbit around the Earth will carry it to its furthest point from the Sun – its aphelion – at a distance of 0.9921 AU from the Sun.

This happens at around the time when the Moon’s orbit carries it around the far side of the Earth as seen from the Sun, at around the same time that it passes full moon. For comparison, at the moment of this aphelion, the Earth will lie at a distance of 0.9897 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.0027 AU (403,000 km) from the Moon.


St. Valentine

St. Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, is a third-century Roman saint widely celebrated on February 14 and is often associated with “gallant love.”

Although not much of St. Valentine’s life is reliably known, and whether or not the stories involve two different saints by the same name is also not officially decided, it is highly agreed that St. Valentine was martyred and then buried on the Via Flaminia to the north of Rome.

In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine from the General Roman Calendar, because so little is known about him. However, the church still recognizes him as a saint, listing him in the February 14 spot of Roman Martyrolgy.

The legends attributed to the mysterious saint are as inconsistent as the actual identification of the man.

One common story about St. Valentine is that in one point of his life, as the former Bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, he was on house arrest with Judge Asterius. While discussing religion and faith with the Judge, Valentine pledged the validity of Jesus. The judge immediately put Valentine and his faith to the test.

St. Valentine was presented with the judge’s blind daughter and told to restore her sight. If he succeeded, the judge vowed to do anything for Valentine. Placing his hands onto her eyes, Valentine restored the child’s vision.

Conjuction between the Moon and Uranus

On February twelfth, the Moon and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within 1°38′ of each other.

From Washington DC, the pair will become visible at around 17:55 (EST) as the dusk sky fades, 45° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 4 hours and 29 minutes after the Sun at 22:05.

At the moment of closest approach, the Moon will be at mag -11.1, and Uranus at mag 5.9, both in the constellation Pisces.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.


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Asteroid 5 Astraea at opposition

Asteroid 5 Astraea will be well placed for observation, one Feb. fifteenth. Lying in the constellation Leo, well above the horizon for much of the night.

Regardless of your location on the Earth, 5 Astraea will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time.

From Washington DC, it will be visible between 19:44 and 04:57. It will become accessible at around 19:44, when it rises 24° above your eastern horizon, and then reach its highest point in the sky at 00:22, 64° above your southern horizon. It will become inaccessible at around 04:57 when it sinks to 25° above your western horizon.


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The town of Sparta

Sparta is one of the most powerful cities in Ancient Greece, although it was extremely different than Athens. This city was not well known for literature, architecture and or philosophy. Sparta is known for their exellent warriors, they were fierce amd and proud people. Boys about seven-years-old would leaves their homes to learn fighting techniques and strategies. The training was hard, but it was designed to make them tough and teach them to be able to survive in the toughest conditions of war. The older boys picked fights with the younger boys, and they were not given food or water and were expected to steal some. If they were caught, they were whipped, the boys also learned to lie, cheat and steal without getting caught.

Spartans were known as the greatest soldiers in Greece, they used spears and swords for weapons. They wore red so the blood from their wounds would not show, and when they fought they locked their shields together and advanced on an enemy. This strategy enabled them to win battles even when they were greatly outnumbered. For example, in their most famous battle, the Battle of Thermopylae, 300 Spartans held off hundreds of thousands of Persian soldiers.

The woman of Sparta are tough as well, they had more responsibilities and freedom than other women of Greece. his is mostly because their husbands did not live at home, they lived with other soldiers and only visited their families. This meant women were in charge at home, some even ran businesses.

Spartans had slaves called helots, they farmed their own land but had to give half of their crops to the Spartans. Helots were beaten every year to keep them fearful of their masters, and runaway slaves were killed. The Spartans were extremely fierce people.


NGC 2808 is well placed

Across much of the world the globular cluster NGC 2808 in Carina will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time.

At a declination of -64°52′, it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere and cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 5°N.

From Washington DC, it will not be observable because it will lie so far south that it never rises above the horizon.

At magnitude 6.3, NGC2808 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.


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Mercury at greatest elongation west

Mercury will be well placed for observation in the dawn sky, shining brightly at mag -1.9.

From Washington DC, it will be difficult to observe as it will appear no higher than 10° above the horizon. It will be visible in the dawn sky. It will rise at 05:45 (EST), 1 hour and 25 minutes before the Sun, and attain an altitude of 10° above the south-eastern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:52.


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