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Tonight's Sky-Watch

  Visible Planet-Watch

Mercury - May be visible in the early morning hours.

Venus - Is currently visible for viewing in the morning hours.

Mars - May be visible in the early morning hours.

Jupiter - is visible in the night sky

Saturn - May be visible the early evening.

Uranus - Is visible until the early evening.

Neptune - Is visible until the late evening.

  Moon-Watch

New Moon occurs February 9, at 15:00 hrs. P.T., 23:00 hrs. U.T. 

First Quarter Moon occurs February 16, at 07:02 P.T., 15:02 hrs. U.T. 

Full Moon occurs February 24, at 04:31 P.T., 12:31 hrs. U.T.

Last Quarter Moon occurs March 3, at 07:24 hrs. P.T., 15:24 hrs. U.T.

New Moon occurs March 10, at 02:01 hrs. P.T., 10:01 hrs. U.T. 

  This lunar cycle occurs on February 9, at 15:00 PT. through March 10, at 02:01 hrs. P.T.

   February Event-Watch

February 20 – Moon and Pollux

In the eastern sky starting after dusk on Tuesday evening, February 20, the bright, nearly full moon will shine ~1.7 degrees to the lower right (or celestial south) of the bright star Pollux in Gemini. Pollux’ slightly fainter twin, the double star Castor will sparkle above them. As the trio crosses the sky during the night, the eastward orbital motion of the moon will carry it farther from Pollux, while the diurnal rotation of the sky will rotate Gemini’s stars to the moon’s right.

February 21 – The Winter Albireo

The star 145 CMa (also designated HR2764 and HIP35210) is sometimes referred to as the “Winter Albireo” (the famous-colored double that marks Cygnus’ head). This beautiful, but underrated double star sits low in Canis Major, 3.5° northeast of the naked-eye star Wezen. 145 CMa features deep colors of bright citrus or orange (mag 4.8) and royal blue (mag 6.9), separated by a generous 26.8 arc-seconds. It reaches its highest point over the southern horizon at about 9 p.m. local time in late February.

 

February 22 - Venus and Mars 

One of 2024’s closest planetary conjunctions will occur on the mornings surrounding Thursday, February 22. The brilliant planet Venus’ return sunward will carry it only 0.6° to the upper left (or celestial north) of far fainter Mars. They’ll be close enough together to share the view in a backyard telescope from Monday to Saturday, with Venus approaching Mars from the upper right (celestial west) before Thursday, and then sliding to Mars’ lower left (celestial east) afterward, though your telescope may flip and/or mirror the image. Binoculars will capture the pair easily, too. Sky watchers closer to the tropics will see Mars more easily.

 

February 23 Reiner Gamma Lunar Swirl

Oceanus Procellarum is the large, dark mare region near the western (left-hand) limb of the moon. The Reiner Gamma Lunar Swirl is a small, high-albedo area located just inside the western edge of Procellarum, due north of the dark crater Grimaldi and due west of the bright, rayed crater Kepler. It is best seen a night or two after the moon’s full phase. The 18 mile or 30 km diameter crater Reiner is located east-southeast of Reiner Gamma. The swirl is composed of ancient lunar basalt that has not been darkened by weathering, likely due to protection from cosmic rays by a strong localized magnetic field - the swirl has one of the strongest magnetic anomalies on the moon! At high magnification, its complex, swirling shape can be discerned.

 

February 24 – Full Snow Moon

The February full moon will occur on Saturday, February 24 at 7:30 a.m. EST, 4:30 a.m. PST, or 12:30 UT. In the Americas the moon will appear almost full on both Friday and Saturday evening. The indigenous Anishnaabe (Ojibwe and Chippewa) people of the Great Lakes region call the February full moon Namebini-giizis “Sucker Fish Moon” or Mikwa-giizis, the “Bear Moon”. For them it signifies a time to discover how to see beyond reality and to communicate through energy rather than sound. The Algonquin call it Wapicuummilcum, the “Ice in River is Gone” moon. The Cree of North America call it Kisipisim, the “the Great Moon”, a time when the animals remain hidden away and traps are empty. For Europeans, it is known as the Snow Moon or Hunger Moon. Because this full moon will occur only 26.5 hours before the moon’s apogee, its greatest distance from Earth this month, it will look about 7% smaller than average – making it the opposite of a supermoon and the smallest full moon of 2024.

   Notable Planet-Watch

Venus is 10° above the horizon as Nautical Twilight begins (Morning).

Mars is 2.0° above the horizon as Nautical Twilight begins.

Saturn is 9.0° above the horizon as Nautical Twilight ends (Evening).

Neptune is 28.0° above the horizon as Nautical Twilight ends.

Venus and Mars  will be 1° a part by 22-Feb this week.

Uranus currently lagging Jupiter by 11° this month.

Jupiter currently lagging Neptune by 41° this month.

Neptune is currently lagging Saturn by 19° this month.

   Comet-Watch

These are comets to watch as they are making a close approach to our solar system.

 

12P/Pons-Brooks -

Currently at 7.4 magnitude, is located in the constellation of Lacerta, at a distance of 272,949,939 kilometers from Earth.

Comet 62P/Tsuchinshan -

Currently at 9.2 magnitude, is located in the constellation of Virgo, at a distance of 75,360,380 kilometers from Earth.

Comet 144P/Kushida -

Currently at 10.8 magnitude, is located in the constellation of Taurus, at a distance of 111,226,149 kilometers from Earth.

Updated on February 26, 2024

As of July 2022

Date
UTC Time
Pacific Time
Event Description
2-Feb
23:18
15:18
Last Quarter of the Moon
7-Feb
18:52
10:52
Venus is 5.4°N of Moon
8-Feb
6:30
22:30 (7-Feb)
Mars is 4.2°N of Moon
9-Feb
23:59
15:59
New Moon
10-Feb
18:49
10:48
Moon at perigee: 358,100 km (222,513 mi.)
15-Feb
8:15
0:15
Jupiter is 3.2°S of Moon
16-Feb
15:01
7:01
First Quarter of the Moon
16-Feb
19:13
11:13
Pleiades is 0.6°N of Moon
22-Feb
9:01
1:01
Mars is 0.6°N of Venus
24-Feb
12:30
4:30
Full Moon
25-Feb
15:00
7:00
Moon at Apogee: 406,300 km (252,463 mi.)
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