National Geographic : 1943 Jul
Auriga (the Charioteer) Drives Westward through the Northern Sky in February W ITH ITS first-magnitude star, Capella, shin ing brilliantly, it is a conspicuous constella tion throughout the winter months. The zodiacal constellation Gemini, with the twin stars Castor and Pollux, lies just south of the zenith. Far ther south are Procyon, the Lesser Dog Star, and brilliant Sirius, the Dog Star, used by navigators. Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars still are visible in February's evening sky. It is interesting to note that the first two have been moving very slowly, while Mars has changed its position rapidly. Dur ing the previous few months Mars has been mov ing apparently backwards among the stars, be cause of the fact that the earth, traveling faster, was overtaking and passing it in its orbit. But during February Mars regains its normal direc tion of motion as its brightness begins to fade. The star Canopus shines brightly just below Sirius on the southern horizon. It is visible, how ever, only from the southern part of the United States. Canopus is in the constellation Carina (the Keel), which is associated with Vela (the Sail) and Puppis (the Stern) to form a group known as Argo Navis (the Ship Argo). Near by also is Pyxis (the Compass). The February chart can be used for November 1 at 5:30 a.m .; November 15, 4:30 a.m .; Decem ber 1, 3:30 a.m .; December 15, 2:30 a.m.