Steve’s Place

Photography and Astrophotography

Astro Calendar

Events of interest for February 2019 ….

February – Aurora season is well underway. Even though we are at solar minimum, auroral activity is still quite prolific – mostly from coronal hole activity. Please visit our sister site AUK – Aurora UK for “real time” notifications of the aurora.

There are a few changes in this months “What’s Up” and I am trying to research as much upcoming activity as possible. There will be more postings on upcoming Deep Sky Objects (DSO’s) which are best placed for viewing. This is in part due to my own observatory now being functional and this also provides me some steerage on events.

February 2 – MOON/SATURN – The waning crescent moon (5% lit) is very close to Saturn shortly after moonrise around 05:50.

February 3 – JUPITER – Using a telescope this morning will show the Jovian moon Ganymede’s giant shadow centrally on the planet’s disk at around 05:30.

February 4 – NEW MOON- The Moon will pass close to the Sun and become lost in the Sun’s glare for a few days. The Moon’s orbital motion carries it around the Earth once every four weeks, and as a result its phases cycle from new moon, through first quarter, full moon and last quarter, back to new moon once every 29.5 days. This motion also means that the Moon travels more than 12° across the sky from one night to the next, causing it to rise and set nearly an hour later each day. At new moon, the Earth, Moon and Sun all lie in a roughly straight line, with the Moon in the middle, appearing in front of the Sun’s glare. In this configuration, we see almost exactly the opposite half of the Moon to that which is illuminated by the Sun, making it doubly unobservable because the side we see is unilluminated. Over coming days, the Moon will rise and set an hour later each day, becoming visible in the late afternoon and dusk sky as a waxing crescent which sets soon after the Sun. By first quarter, in a week’s time, it will be visible until around midnight.

February 4 – COMET – Comet 46P/Wirtanen remains in Ursa Major all month. It is currently a binocular object but gradually getting dimmer and expected to be around +10.1 by the end of the month.

February 5 – VENUS/NEBULA – Venus lies approx 2° north of the Trifid Nebula (M20).

February 5 – MOON/MERCURY – Mercury appears 3.6° from a less than 1% lit waxing crescent Moon in this evenings sky.

February 7 – COMET – Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 1.28 AU. From Scarborough, it will be visible between 23:35 and 06:00. It will become accessible at around 23:35, when it rises 21° above your south-eastern horizon, and then reach its highest point in the sky at 02:49, 34° above your southern horizon. It will become inaccessible at around 06:00 when it sinks to 21° above your south-western horizon.

February 10 – MOON/MARS – The Moon and Mars will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 6°04′ to the south of Mars. The Moon will be 6 days old. From Scarborough, the pair will become visible at around 17:21 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 45° above your southern horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 6 hours and 30 minutes after the Sun at 23:26. The Moon will be at mag -11.2, and Mars at mag 1.0, both in the constellation Pisces. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope or pair of binoculars, but will be visible to the naked eye.

February 10 – MOON – The Moon shows the clair obscur effect Alexander’s Beaded Rim (ie dots of light around the western rim of 82km crater Alexander.

February 11 – COMET – Comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) is forecast to reach its brightest, at around mag 7.7. It will lie at a distance of 1.28 AU from the Sun, and at a distance of 0.30 AU from the Earth. From Scarborough, it will be visible between 19:30 and 05:44. It will become accessible at around 19:30, when it rises 21° above your eastern horizon, and then reach its highest point in the sky at 00:39, 53° above your southern horizon. It will become inaccessible at around 05:44 when it sinks to 21° above your western horizon.

February 13 – MARS/URANUS – Mars and Uranus will make a close approach, passing within 0°58′ of each other. From Scarborough, the pair will become visible at around 17:53 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 42° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 6 hours and 21 minutes after the Sun at 23:20. Mars will be at mag 1.0, and Uranus at mag 5.8, both in the constellation Aries. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

February 14 – MOON – The clair obscur effect known as the Jewelled Handle is visible on the moon this evening. This occurs when the peaks of the Jura mountains, which surround Sinus Iridum, catch early morning sunlight.

February 18 – MOON/CLUSTER – The Moon and the Beehive Cluster (M44) will make a close approach, passing within 0°16′ of each other. The Moon will be 14 days old. From Scarborough, the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible at around 17:34 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 21° above your eastern horizon. They will then reach its highest point in the sky at 22:47, 55° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 05:47, when they sink to 8° above your western horizon. The Moon will be at mag -12.8, and M44 at mag 3.1, both in the constellation Cancer. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

February 19 – MERCURY/NEPTUNE- Mercury and Neptune will share the same right ascension, with Mercury passing 0°46′ to the north of Neptune. From Scarborough, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 8° above the horizon. They will become visible at around 17:37 (GMT) as the dusk sky fades, 8° above your south-western horizon. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 1 hour and 25 minutes after the Sun at 18:38. Mercury will be at mag -1.0, and Neptune at mag 8.0, both in the constellation Aquarius. The pair will be a little too widely separated to fit comfortably within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

February 19 – FULL MOON – The Moon will reach full phase and will be at its closest for 2019 – hence obtaining the title “Supermoon”. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, the Moon lies almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky, placing it high above the horizon for much of the night. This month’s full moon will take place unusually close to the time of month when the Moon also makes its closest approach to the Earth – called its perigee. This means the moon will appear slightly larger and brighter than at other times, though any difference is imperceptible to the unaided eye. Perigee full moons such as this occur roughly once every 13 months. The sequence of full moons through the year are often assigned names according to the seasons in which they fall. This month’s will be the third to fall in winter 2019 – the Lenten Moon. Over the nights following 19 February, the Moon will rise around an hour later each day, becoming prominent later in the night. Within a few days, it will only be visible in the pre-dawn and early-morning sky. By the time it reaches last quarter, a week after full moon, it will rise at around midnight and set at around noon. At the exact moment when the Moon reaches full phase, it will lie at a declination of +14°03′ in the constellation Leo , and so will appear highest in the northern hemisphere. It will be visible from all latitudes south of 65°S. Its distance from the Earth will be 356,000 km.

February 19 – VARIOUS – Venus, Saturn and Albaldah make an attractive triangle in the morning sky.

February 19 – BODES GALAXY – Bode’s galaxy (M81, NGC 3031) in Ursa Major will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of +69°03′, it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 0°S. From Scarborough, it will be very well placed – it will be close enough to the north celestial pole that it will be high above the horizon all night. The full moon will hamper viewing conditions though. At magnitude 6.9, M81 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or small telescope.

February 22 – MOON – The clair obscur effect known as the Twin Spires of Messier will be visible around midnight. This appears as a curious, double-peaked shadow attached to the rim of crater Messier.

February 23 – JUPITER – Jupiter’s outer Galilean satellite Callisto sits just to the north of Jupiters disk this morning.

February 26 – MOON – The moon is at last quarter and will be prominent in the dawn sky, rising at around midnight. From Scarborough, it will be difficult to observe as it will appear no higher than 18° above the horizon. It will be visible in the morning sky, becoming accessible at around 02:58, when it rises 7° above your south-eastern horizon. It will then reach its highest point in the sky at 06:03, 18° above your southern horizon. It will be lost to dawn twilight at around 06:35, 17° above your southern horizon.

February 27 – MOON/JUPITER – The Moon and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 2°19′ to the north of Jupiter. The Moon will be 23 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. From Scarborough, the pair will be difficult to observe as they will appear no higher than 13° above the horizon. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 03:13 (GMT) – 3 hours and 44 minutes before the Sun – and reaching an altitude of 13° above the southern horizon before fading from view as dawn breaks at around 06:33. The Moon will be at mag -11.6, and Jupiter at mag -2.0, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

February 27 – MERCURY – Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 18.1 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.

February 28 – MOON – A 32% lit waning crescent Moon lies 7.6° to the east of Jupiter. Saturn is also visible nearby.

Observations and imaging now being conducted at the Muston Imaging Group (MIG) near Filey, North Yorks
MIG – https://www.facebook.com/MIGastronomy

Don’t forget our sister group with near real time aurora alerts ….
AUK – Aurora UK – https://www.facebook.com/groups/AuroraUK/

Note: Times are UK (BST) unless noted differently.
Thanks to: in-the-sky.org, Sky at Night and various online astronomy calendars + own input

Share Button
error: Content is protected !!