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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Feb > Feb 4

It's Not A Plane It's Not A UFO

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2007 11:19:32 -0500
Fwd Date: Sun, 04 Feb 2007 11:19:32 -0500
Subject: It's Not A Plane It's Not A UFO

Source: Staunton News Leader -  Virginia, USA


Sunday, February 4, 2007

It's Not A Plane; It's Not A UFO =97 Venus Dominates Evening
Western Sky

Jack Wine

No, it's not an alien spacecraft that you're seeing =97 it's the
planet Venus. The brightest of the planets will remain the
evening star through late June; it will then go into retrograde
and be lost in the sun's glare until late September. At that
point, it will rise in the east about 30 minutes before sunrise
and will become the morning star.

About this time every year I receive several phone calls asking,
"What is that bright object in the evening western sky?"

Evidently they must stay awake in bed at night and ponder this
question, because I usually get the calls early in the morning.
At times it's very tempting to act as if it must be something
extraterrestrial. I have been told on occasion that it moves
back and forth and changes color. Actually the color changes are
from refraction of light from Venus shining through dust
particles and ice crystals in our atmosphere. The dancing is
caused by thermal activity, which distorts the image when the
planet gets close to the horizon.

Elsewhere in the sky, Comet McNaught has become the brightest
comet in 40 years. The only problem for us is the fact it was
visible here in the northern hemisphere low in the evening sky
for just about two weeks. The best view we got of this comet
here was Jan. 12, when it was visible for about 35 minutes after

Even after the main body of the comet had dropped below the
western horizon, the tail, which was extremely bright and wide,
was seen from this area for several days.

Below the equator, this comet has been a spectacular sight.
Hundreds of pictures taken from below the equator can be found
on www.spaceweather.com. Comet McNaught is a nonperiodic comet,
which means it will be thousands of years before it returns, if

Mercury is just above the western horizon the first week in
February. On Wednesday it reaches the greatest elongation, when
it will lie 18 degrees east of the sun. Look for it about 7
degrees to the lower right of Venus.

Saturn rose in the east-northeast at 7 p.m. Saturday and is well
placed for viewing all month. The best time to see the ringed
planet in February is at midnight, when it's highest in the sky.

Mars appears in the morning sky just north of the Sagittarius
Teapot handle. Uranus and Neptune are, for the most part, too
low in the western sky to view this month. Jupiter at midmonth
rises in the southeast at 4 a.m. Full moon occurred Friday, and
new moon is Feb. 17.

Write News Leader columnist Jack Wine at starman34.nul

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