Astronomy Events – February 2012February 1, 2012
January was packed with astronomy interest, partly due to a little program called Stargazing LIVE! But what to fuel the fires of interest ongoing? Maybe we can help you there.
Here are some upcoming astronomy events during February to help keep us all watching the skies!
Wednesday 1st February – We love the Pleiades star cluster (M45), but it could be a challenge to see the Seven Sisters as the waxing Moon appears just below it this evening. Look for it high up to the south at 19:00 GMT. Can anyone get a photo showing both?
Friday 3rd February – Comet Garradd (C/2009 P1) begins a pass of globular cluster M92 this evening (at the top of the constellation Hercules). The cluster will dip down close to the northern horizon around 21:00 GMT but be up again in the north east by 02:00 GMT (4th February). At this time the comet will be above and to the right of the cluster, but moves up passing through the constellation Draco by the end of the month
Tuesday 7th February – Full Moon and Mercury is at superior conjunction. This means the planet won’t be visible until into the second half of the month
Saturday 11th February – Moon at Perigee, the closest point of its orbit at 367,920 km
Monday 13th February – The Beehive Cluster (or “Praesepe”, Messier 44) is at its highest in the south at 23:00 GMT, almost right in the centre of the constellation Cancer. We got a quick look at this great sight in October 2011, and it should be visible with good binoculars or a small telescope
Tuesday 14th February – Last Quarter Moon
Sunday 19th February – Neptune is in conjunction with the Sun
Tuesday 21st February – New Moon which sets just before nightfall, so tonight is one of the better ones for observing deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae. We hope you have clear skies!
Saturday 25th February - Venus and the crescent new Moon appear together this evening, shown above as they will appear in the western sky at 19:00 GMT. Close conjunctions such as these can make good photograph targets, as seen below of the Moon and Venus conjunction from the end of January
Monday 27th February – Moon at Apogee (404,860 km), the furthest point of its orbit from the Earth
Planets visible this month:
Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!
To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy!
Guide images created with Stellarium