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The February Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

The Full Moon for February

 Full Snow Moon – February Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult. Courtesy: Farmers Almanac

Lunar Phase

New Moon February 8 9:39 am EST
First Quarter Moon February 15 2:45 am EST
Full Moon February 22 1:20 pm EST
Last Quarter Moon March 1 6:00 pm EST

February  Visible Lunar Highlights

February 1 - Mars 3° S. of Moon, February 3 - Saturn 3° S. of Moon, February 6 - Venus 4° S. of Moon, February 6 - Mercury 4° S. of Moon, February 9 - Neptune 2° S. of Moon, February 12 - Uranus 5°. N. of Moon, February 16 - Aldebaran 2° N. of Moon, February 23 - Jupiter 1°.4 N. of Moon.

All times are EST

The Planets Visibility for February

5 Planets Visible

All five naked-eye planets are visible in early dawn. See more at: Sky & Telescope.

Image above courtesy of Sky & Telescope.

On February 6th, the crescent Moon, Venus, and Mercury form a triangle low in the southeast morning sky just before sunrise.


Morning Sky SE

Mercury early February morning sky low in the southeast in the constellation Capricornus. Mercury at midmonth rises at 5:54 am. Mercury is at -0.1 magnitude and diameter 00°00'06" and 73.73% phase. Mercury is at greatest elongation February 6.


Morning Sky SE

 Venus midmonth is in the morning sky rising at 5:37 am. Venus  is at -3.9 magnitude and diameter 00°00'12" at phase 88.21%. Venus is located in the constellation Sagittarius. 


Morning Sky SE

Mars midmonth is in the morning sky at 0.6 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'08"in the constellation Libra rising at 12:43 am.

To find Mars look for a reddish object low in the west northwest sky. To see which part of the surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page.


 Evening sky E to Morning Sky

 Jupiter midmonth will rise in the eastern evening sky at 7:35 pm in the constellation Leo the Lion at -2.5 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'44".

  A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 


Morning Sky SE

Saturn at 0.6 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.15". Saturn is in the constellation Ophiuchus rising midmonth at 4:26 am in the southeast morning sky. Saturn and Venus appear to close to each other in the morning sky January 9-10.

Through a small telescope Saturn will reveal the famous rings of the planet. Rings currently are +26.2° tilt. See: Saturn's moons locations


Evening Sky W

Uranus midmonth at 5.9 magnitude and diameter 00°00'03" is up after sunset and sets around 9:55 pm.. Uranus is located in the south southwest in constellation Pisces. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a green-gray disk. See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Evening Lost in glow of the Sun

Neptune is too close to the Sun to observe midmonth.  It is at 8.0 magnitude and diameter 00°00'.02" Neptune is located in the constellation Aquarius. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a blue green disk.  See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Bright Asteroids


4Vesta midmonth at 8.1 magnitude is in constellation Pisces near the border of Cetus the Whale setting at 10:07 pm.

Dwarf Planets


Lost in Sun's glare

 Pluto midmonth is in the morning sky at midmonth located amid the stars of the Milky Way in the constellation Sagittarius. Pluto is at magnitude +14.2 and diameter 00°00'.00".


Comets Brighter than 8 Magnitude

C/2013 US10 (Catalina) now at 6.6 magnitude

Comet Catalina is visible in the northernmost sky and is circumpolar. This comet is beginning to now slowly fade and is now below naked eye visibility. For more on current Comets and locations see: Seiichi Yoshida web site here.


Quadrantid Meteor Shower

No major meteor showers this month.

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

 The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials


Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

Sky Map