February Sky | Watch For These

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory posted a brief video which highlights some events you ought to try to see this month. The first two are conjunctions of familiar objects in the sky. Neither requires any special equipment. The events in the second half of the NASA video will require at least a small telescope.

Sky & Telescope magazine adds some detail to the conjunction events in this article. The first chart is for the evening gathering of Mars and Venus on the 7th. It will be a similar view for several more evenings. Venus is bright and easy to see. Mars is more difficult. Use binoculars if you have them. Watch as they come closer during the week ahead.

Click for details

I used my desktop planetarium software to track the movements of Venus and Mars until late February. This video of the screen shows what to watch for each evening.

This chart shows the movement of the Moon for several mornings one hour before sunrise. Saturn and the Moon are near each other on the 12th and 13th. Also watch how the crescent of the Moon narrows from day to day.

Click for details

A beautiful event involving Jupiter and three of the Galilean moons happened on January 24. Europa, Callisto, and Io were seen passing in front of the giant planet and casting shadows on the cloud tops. Click the image to see that full story at Astronomy Picture of the Day.

NASA | ESA | Hubble Heritage


16 thoughts on “February Sky | Watch For These

  1. Well. After a cloudless start to the day, the little darlings moved back in. But, we’re “supposed” to be clear through the coming week, so I’ll see what I can see. I’m a real fan of planetary conjunctions, so thanks for mentioning that.

    After more than a week of clouds, drizzle, and etc., when it finally cleared off for this morning, I was amazed at how much earlier the sun is rising. It’s not that much earlier in terms of actual minutes, of course, but it still was noticeable. And the plants are beginning to show the effects of more light, too, with new growth. Nice.

    • I hope you get the clear skies several days so you can watch the changes.

      No plant responding to more light here yet. But, we are noticing the increased amount of light in the morning and evening. The daylight adds nearly 3 minutes each day. We are in the slow progression toward spring and summer. It feels good.

  2. I love that desktop planetarium software, does it also chart the constellations? How does it really work, with the laptop’s camera? Tethering with another camera?

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