Posts Tagged ‘February’

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Astronomy Events – February 2016

January 31, 2016

by Adam Welbourn

As much as dark skies are what stargazers crave, and the longer the darkness the more gazing that can be done, it’s nice that afternoons are now noticeably lighter for longer!

Apart from a week or so of cold snowy weather affecting most of the northern UK it has been one of the mildest winters on record, so with the luck of some drier weather (let’s face it, we’re due) February could be a great time to get outside under the stars.

To help we’ve picked out some heavenly happenings for the upcoming month below, so peruse at your leisure and get out and enjoy the night!

Keep watching those skies…

Monday 1st February  – This morning our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

If you have some binoculars you may be able to catch Comet Catalina close to Polaris the Pole Star over the first few evenings of February. It will drift away (towards the west) and decrease in magnitude as the month passes, so catch it while you can!

Saturday 6th February – Early risers with a flat enough horizon (and the luck of clear skies of course!) will be in for a treat just before dawn this morning. The sliver of crescent Moon sits over a bright Venus, with a faint Mercury just below and to the left

A beautiful celestial triangle appears just before sunrise this morning, look to the south east at 06:30 (UTC) to see the thin crescent Moon over Venus and Mercury - (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

A beautiful celestial triangle appears just before sunrise this morning, look to the south east at 06:30 (UTC) to see the thin crescent Moon over Venus and Mercury – (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 7th February Mercury is at greatest western elongation today, and may be visible just before sunrise to the left of much brighter Venus, appearing to be a faint star in comparison

Monday 8th February – Today the New Moon rises and sets with the Sun, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae, or get a clearer look at objects usually blurred and faint in light polluted skies

A nice object to try and locate at this time of year is the Rosette Nebula, which contains open cluster NGC 2244. If your skies aren’t too light polluted you should be able to locate it to the left of Orion, look to the south at 21:00 UTC

The stars of the open cluster shine brightly, surrounded by the gas and dust that make up the Rosette Nebula (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The stars of the open cluster shine brightly, surrounded by the gas and dust that make up the Rosette Nebula (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Thursday 11th February – Today the Moon is at Perigee at a distance of 364,355 km (226,400 miles) from the Earth, the closest it will come on it’s current orbit

Monday 15th February – This morning the Moon will be seen at First Quarter phase

And to help you identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in February

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Monday 22nd February – This evening’s Full Moon is sometimes known as the Budding Moon, Storm Moon or Snow Moon

Tuesday 23rd February – Gas giant Jupiter joins our Moon in the sky tonight, can you catch it in an image despite the brightness of its companion? They will travel together for the whole evening, appearing closest in the early hours of the 24th

Shown above at 19:30 UTC, the Moon and Jupiter cross the sky as close companions all evening (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown above at 19:30 UTC, the Moon and Jupiter cross the sky as close companions all evening (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 27th February – The Moon is at Apogee today at a distance of 405,380 km (251,376 miles), the furthest point its orbit will take it away from the Earth this month

Monday 28th February – Often elusive Neptune is in conjunction with the Sun today, and is actually unobservable throughout the month

As usual, if you take any photos throughout February you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Venus
Saturn
Mars
Uranus
Jupiter
Mercury

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

Archive:
Astronomy Events – January 2016
Astronomy Events – December 2015
Astronomy Events – November 2015

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Astronomy Events – February 2015

January 31, 2015

by yaska77

Another month ticked off then, it really feels like I sit down to compile these guides every other week at the moment, time seems to be passing so quickly. Modern lives can keep us so busy we rarely treat ourselves to a good look at the beauty of the night sky, and even less time to spend finding things to look at… if only you had a guide at your fingertips to help direct your gaze!

Astronomy really can be therapeutic, helping the minor stresses of a day at work drop away as you turn your face upwards in quiet contemplation. Think for a moment about the sheer scale of it all, get lost in the swirls of galaxies, colourful clouds emanating from nebulae, or just lose yourself exploring craters on the Moon.

There’s plenty happening this month as outlined in our list of night sky events below, so get outside and keep watching the skies…

Tuesday 3rd February – The Full Moon today is sometimes known as the Budding Moon, Snow Moon or Trapper’s Moon and appears close to bright evening object Jupiter this evening (shown below at 22:00 UTC)

For most of February Jupiter will dominate the night sky with it's brilliance, but even the gas giant can't compete with a full Moon! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

For most of February Jupiter will dominate the night sky with its brilliance, but even the gas giant can’t compete with a full Moon! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 6th February – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 405,155 km (251,752 miles), the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth this month

Giant Jupiter is also at opposition today, meaning it is opposite the Sun in the night sky (so rises with sunset and sets with sunrise). As it is closest to the Earth at this time it will also appear at its biggest and brightest!

Thursday 12th February – This morning our Moon will be seen at Last Quarter phase

Sunday 15th February – To help identify the constellations you can see throughout the month, below we’ve provided guide images for both southern and northern skies in February

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking South (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Wednesday 18th February – The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

Thursday 19th February – Today the Moon is at Perigee (the closest point of its orbit to the Earth) at a distance of 356,990 km (221,823 miles)

Friday 20th February – If you’re lucky enough to have a flat western horizon you might catch a nice little conjunction in the sky after sunset this evening. Look towards the west and you’ll catch the thin crescent Moon paying a near visit to Venus and Mars (shown below at 18:00 UTC)

Planets Mars and Venus are visited by the waxing crescent Moon this evening, look low towards the West soon after sunset (click to enlarge) - Credit:Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Planets Mars and Venus are visited by the waxing crescent Moon this evening, look low towards the West soon after sunset (click to enlarge) – Credit:Sky-Watching/Stellarium

These little heavenly meetings usually provide a good target for photos, when else can you get objects of such immense size into one tiny photograph!?

Tuesday 24th February – Inner planet Mercury is at Greatest Western Elongation, meaning it currently rises just before the Sun. If you have a nice flat eastern horizon and low light pollution it might be worth getting up early to see if you can spot it (be quick though, as the brightening sky will soon hide it from view!)

Wednesday 25th February – This morning the Moon is at First Quarter phase

Thursday 26th February Neptune is in Conjunction with the Sun today, and is currently unobservable

As usual, if you take any photos throughout February you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts and we’ll re-tweet them to your fellow sky-watchers!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Mars
Mercury
Saturn
Neptune
Uranus
Venus

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

Archive:
Astronomy Events – January 2015
Astronomy Events – December 2014
Astronomy Events – November 2014

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Astronomy Events – February 2014

January 31, 2014

by yaska77

Well January seems to have passed in a flash! Unfortunately the much reported terrible weather we’ve had in Britain has meant we’ve been afforded no chance whatsoever to get any astronomy done, and have had to content ourselves with a triple dose of Stargazing LIVE and images sent to us on Twitter.

There are quite a few events in February that we’d like a close look at however, so we’re praying for some dry weather and clear skies to enable us to get back outdoors and reacquaint ourselves with the beauty of the heavens!

Below we’ve noted some astronomical points of interest for you to pick through, so get outside and keep watching the skies!

Saturday 1st February – Jovian moon Ganymede transits the disc of Jupiter this evening, which should provide a great sight through a telescope

Beginning around 19:00 UTC it will exit the planet’s limb around 22:10 UTC

Through a telescope Ganymede will be clearly visible crossing the disc of Jupiter, shown at 21:00 UTC (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Through a telescope Ganymede will be clearly visible crossing the disc of Jupiter, shown above at 21:00 UTC on 1st February 2014 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

And as a second treat the shadow of Ganymede will then appear on the surface of Jupiter just as the moon itself moves off the disc

Sunday 2nd February – If you have good binoculars or a telescope and look due south at 21:30 this evening (just to the left of Betelgeuse the bright orange star at the top left of Orion) you’ll find the Rosette Nebula and open cluster NGC 2244

We’ve managed to image this faint but beautiful object only once before, so should conditions prove favourable (especially with the Moon setting earlier in the evening affording darker skies) we’re hoping to give it another go to try attain even more clarity to the dark dust lanes you can see in our image below

The stars of the open cluster shine brightly, surrounded by the gas and dust that make up the Rosette Nebula (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The stars of the open cluster NGC 2244 shine brightly, surrounded by the gas and dust that make up the Rosette Nebula, taken in early 2012 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Thursday 6th February – This evenings Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase

Wednesday 12th February – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 406,230 km (252,420 miles) the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth

Friday 14th February – The Full Moon in the sky tonight is also sometimes known as the Trapper’s Moon, Budding Moon or Storm Moon

And continuing our recent addition to this guide, below we’ve provided constellation guides for Southern and Northern skies in February!

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 15th February – Hot planet Mercury is in Inferior Conjunction today (and will be unobservable until later in the month when it will become visible as a morning object) and Venus attains greatest brilliancy at mag -4.7 and will appear in a crescent phase if viewed through a telescope

Wednesday 19th February – This evening the waning gibbous Moon passes just 4° south of Mars, and forms a neat triangle with the star Spica which is part of the constellation Virgo

Rising around 22:30 UTC our guide image above shows its location in the sky at 01:00 UTC on 20th February (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Rising around 22:30 UTC our guide image above shows the location of Mars and the Moon in the sky at 01:00 UTC on 20th February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 22nd February – Tonight the Moon is at Last Quarter phase

Sunday 23rd February – Planet Neptune is in Conjunction with the Sun today and is unobservable throughout February

Wednesday 26th FebruaryVenus and the crescent Moon traverse the predawn sky as close companions when they rise around 05:00 UTC this morning, and should look great if you can get an image through a telescope!  We’ll certainly be trying to get some photos!

The crescent Moon and bright planet Venus will provide a great target for some photography this morning, if the weather will behave! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The crescent Moon and bright planet Venus will provide a great target for some photography this morning, if the weather will behave! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Thursday 27th February – The Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 360,440 km (223,967 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

As usual, if you take any photos throughout February you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Uranus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn

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

Archive:
Astronomy Events – January 2014
Astronomy Events – December 2013
Astronomy Events – November 2013

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Astronomy Events – February 2013

February 1, 2013

by yaska77

A new month is upon us which means as usual we’ve highlighted below some great astronomical events throughout February to keep your eyes on the skies!

There should be something below for everyone to enjoy 🙂

Sunday 3rd February – Today is a last quarter Moon

Thursday 7th February – The Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 365,315 km (226,996 miles), the closest point in its orbit to the Earth

Friday 8th February – Planets Mercury and Mars appear in conjunction this evening, low down towards the west at sunset (shown below at 17:30 UTC)

Mars Mercury Conjunction 08022013 17.30 UTC (Sky-Watching.co.uk)

The conjunction of Mars and Mercury on the 8th of February could be a great photo target, if your western horizon is flat enough! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 10th February – This evening it’s a New Moon which rises and sets with the Sun. This makes it a good time to observe deep sky objects like M1 (the Crab Nebula), a supernova remanant in the constellation of Taurus

m1-crab-nebula-sky-watching

Located about 6,500 light years from Earth, the supernova that created the Crab Nebula was recorded by Arab, Chinese and Japanese astronomers in 1054 and was visible during the day! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

To help you find it we’ve added a location guide below, shown due south at 20:00 UTC on 10th February. The nebula can be found directly up from the “head” of Orion and to the left of Jupiter

M1 Crab Nebula location 10022013 20.00 UTC (Sky-Watching.co.uk)

Draw a line from the southern horizon up through the “head” of Orion at 20:00 UTC to help find M1 (The Crab Nebula) in the constellation Taurus (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 15th February – Near Earth Asteroid 2012 DA14 passes close by the Earth today at a distance of around 34,100 km (21,189 miles) and may be visible through good binoculars or a small telescope

Best spotted soon after it appears over the eastern horizon around 20:00 UTC, keep an eye out for a star like object that moves over the course of a few minutes

Look for it directly below the star Denebola (the end of the tail of the constellation Leo) around 20:00 UTC and you should be able to find it!

Asteroid 2012 DA14 1502103 20.00UTC (Sky-Watching.co.uk)

Brightest as it appears across the horizon, 2012 DA14 will get fainter as the evening progresses (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The asteroid may disappear from view for around 18 minutes as it passes through the Earth’s shadow, within the ring of geosynchronous satellites around our equator

You can track the asteroid live from 19:00 UTC at the NASA JPL Video feed by clicking here

Saturday 16th February – The planet Mercury is at its Greatest Eastern Elongation today, meaning it’s a good opportunity to see it after sunset low down to the west

Sunday 17th February – This evening sees a First Quarter Moon

Monday 18th February – The waxing gibbous Moon and Jupiter are companions all day today. Rising just after noon the planet should be visible near the Moon with either binoculars or a good zoom lens. Then in the evening both can be found between the bright star Aldebaran in the Hyades cluster, and the nearby Pleiades cluster, shown below at 20:00 UTC

Waxing Gibbous Moon with Jupiter 18022013 20.00 UTC (Sky-Watching.co.uk)

Close to both Hyades and Pleiades clusters, the Moon and Jupiter should make a good image target this evening (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Tuesday 19th February – Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 404,575 km (251,391 miles), the farthest point in its orbit to the Earth

Thursday 21st February – Neptune is in conjunction with the Sun

Monday 25th February – The Full Moon this evening is also sometimes called the Storm Moon, Hunger Moon or Candles Moon

Planets visible this month:

Mercury
Venus
Mars
Jupiter
Saturn
Uranus
Neptune

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

Archive:
Astronomy Events – January 2013
Astronomy Events – December 2012
Astronomy Events – November 2012

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