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Lord of the rings returns

February 2006: Brilliant Venus brings small-scope owners great views of its changing phase when the planet vaults into the morning sky this month. After sunset, Mercury puts on its best evening show of the year.
Most observers agree that Saturn is a wonderful sight through a telescope. The ringed planet perches nicely in the evening sky for the next several months. But how do you pick it out from the multitude of bright winter stars commanding the southeastern sky? A twinkling, colorful point of light will first draw your attention. This is brilliant Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Above it, the bold outline of Orion with its conspicuous "belt" of stars penetrates the crisp air. The red supergiant star Betelgeuse tops this bright group.

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