Welcome to Episode 88 of the Actual Astronomy Podcast, the Objects to Observe in the February 2021 Night Sky! We are amateur astronomers that means we love looking up at the night sky and this podcast is for anyone who enjoys going out under the stars.
Objects to Observe in the February 2021 Night Sky
Best event of the month: Zodiacal Light
Mercury – The closest planet appears in Aquarius mid-month and makes it’s best southern hemispheric morning appearance for 2021.
Saturn, Venus and Jupiter – The three brightest planets collect together in Capricornus just before sunrise.
Neptune – Like Mercury the farthest planet Neptune is in Aquarius, however, it’s on the other side of the Sun meaning it’s visible just after sunset!
Uranus and Mars – After their pairing in January both these planets remain in Aries though keen observers will notice their increasing separation.
February 1st – Under dark skies the Zodiacal Light becomes visible for next 2 weeks after sunset. Watch where the moon sets on the 13th and 14th and follow the light extending from the horizon towards Mars. By the 15th the Moon is too bright and sets too late.
Feb 4th – Last Quarter Moon – use binoculars to take a look for Mare Imbrium outlined by the Apennine mountains.
Feb 6th, Saturn & Venus 0.4 degrees apart but just 11-degrees from the Sun – this will be a challenge due to sky brightness and proximity to the rising Sun. Note: be sure to check local sunrise times and avoid looking at the Sun at all costs, even a glance at the sun through binoculars can result in permanent eye damage.
Feb. 10th Jupiter and Venus Pair up with Mercury and Saturn acting as book ends. This will be a challenge due to sky brightness and proximity to the rising Sun. Note: be sure to check local sunrise times and avoid looking at the Sun at all costs, even a glance at the sun through binoculars can result in permanent eye damage.
Feb. 11th – New Moon
Feb. 17th – Uranus and the Moon at Dusk – Observe as soon as it gets dark to catch them at their closest. 3-degrees from Eastern North America but 5-degrees or more from Western North America.
Feb. 18th – Mars and the Moon will be less than 5-degrees apart.
Feb. 19th – First Quarter Moon – it will be near the Hyades and Pleiades
Feb 21- Telescope required. The clair-obscur effect known as the Jewelled Handle. It’s caused when the mountain range bordering Sinus Iridum catches the lunar dawn. 23:00 UT.
Feb 23 – Telescope needed. A bright star-like dot to the west of the bright crater Aristarchus. This dot is a clair-obscur effect called the Star-Tipped Mountain.
Feb. 27th – Full Moon