Friday is Valentine’s Day, and I hope you enjoy it with a dear sweetheart. Remember the sky is free and always available for sharing with another.
Two stellar beauties to enjoy with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day are Sirius and Canopus. They are directly south at 9 p.m. Sirius (“searing” or “scorching” in Greek) in Canis Major the Greater Dog is the brightest star in the sky. Even with the full moon and the light pollution from Tucson, it will be easily visible 40 degrees above the southern horizon.
The second brightest star in the sky, Canopus, is west of Sirius and just above the southern horizon. Canopus is not quite as bright as Sirius and is very low in the sky but is still bright enough to be clearly visible from the Foothills as it hovers above the city lights. Canopus is a supergiant 15,000 times brighter than the sun with a diameter 65 times that of the sun. Even though it is 313 light-years away, Canopus’ intense nuclear fires produce enough light for it to be a dominant star in the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere.