Dear Magellanicians, the Enrique Lizondo Calvo Foundation together with the French School of Punta Arenas and Magellan Space Industries begin the Astro report for the week of February 12, 2024.

February 15, Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter. The Moon passes about 3.1º north of Jupiter at 08:16 UTC. The Moon has a magnitude of -11.6 and Jupiter has a magnitude of -2.3. At this time the lunar phase is 36.3%, in Magallanes it will be seen towards the West at around 9:50 p.m.

This week is the best of the year to see the constellations of Gemini and Cancer from Magellan, which are facing North between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., at about 15 degrees of altitude.

M35, located in the constellation Gemini, is a prominent set of stars that delights sky watchers. Although it appears to be a diffuse spot to the naked eye, with binoculars or a telescope, M35 reveals its splendor as an open cluster with dozens of bright stars. At approximately 150 million years old, M35 is relatively young in astronomical terms, spanning an impressive 30 arc minutes across the sky. It is estimated to contain several hundred gravitationally bound stars, some of which are variable, adding additional appeal to astronomers studying stellar evolution. Discovered by Philippe Loys de Chéseaux in 1745 and later cataloged by Charles Messier in 1764, M35 is located 2,800 light years away from Earth.

In contrast to its fainter stars, the Cancer Constellation stands out as home to one of the brightest star clusters in the sky: the Beehive Cluster, also known as M44. This impressive star cluster, whose other name is Praesepe, a term that translates as “manger” in Latin, adds a special touch to the celestial richness of Cancer. Located about 577 light-years away from Earth, the Beehive is an open cluster that spans a significant region of space. With an estimated age of around 600 million years, this cluster offers a fascinating window into studying stellar evolution. Viewing the Beehive through telescopes reveals a multitude of stars, providing a unique celestial experience for astronomy enthusiasts.

On February 17, 1959, the first successful launch of the American Vanguard II rocket managed to place a 9.8 kilo scientific meteorological satellite into orbit.

On February 18, 1977, the first atmospheric test flight of the space shuttle Enterprise took place from the Dryden Flight Research Center. This historic event marked the beginning of NASA’s space shuttle program.

Well that’s all, remember to follow us on Facebook on the pages “Fundación Enrique Lizondo Calvo”, “Colegio Francés de Punta Arenas” and “Magellan Space Industries”. See you!

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