February, Night sky, Star, 2021, Moon, Month The Night Sky & A Telescope – February 2021 – The Beehive Cluster
However, mercury, jupiter and saturn will become visible in the pre dawn twilight towards the end of the month. Meanwhile, the beehive cluster is a great target for binocular observers on moonless nights. Mars is the only naked eye planet still visible in the evening sky. You’Ll find it high over the southwestern horizon after sunset on the first, giving you ample opportunity to observe the planet before it sets at around 1 15 am it’ll set about half an hour earlier by the end of the month. The planet is now long past. Its best it starts to melt at magnitude 0.5 at 8 arc seconds in diameter, but will fade to magnitude 0.9 and shrink to 6 arc seconds by the end of the month. Mars also leaves aries behind and moves into taurus on the 23rd. The waxing crescent moon starts catching up to the planet on the 17th and then appears close beside it the following night. You will then find the first quarter moon to its upper left on the 19th mars itself, slips into the same binocular field of view as the pleiades on the 23rd. They will be at their closest on march, the 3rd and 4th, but you can watch them draw closer together over the remaining days of the month. Last month, on january 20th, mars and uranus were at their closest. They will no longer fit within the same field of view of most 10 by 50 binoculars, but you might still be able to see them close together in 7 by 35 binoculars until the 5th being close to mars.
Uranus is also high over the southwestern horizon. In the hours after sunset on the 1st and then sets around 12 45 am on the 1st and 11 pm on the 28th. Unfortunately, eunice’s sibling neptune is too close to the sun to be visible this month and it’s a similar story for mercury, jupiter and saturn. Those three planets were huddled, close together in the evening twilight at the beginning of january. But if you missed it, you might get a second chance towards the end of february. Both mercury and saturn start to emerge into the predawn twilight around the middle of the month, but realistically it might be a little tricky to spot the pair until around the 20th. Both will appear at about the same altitude and about the same brightness and are then joined by brighter jupiter for the remainder of the month. Mercury is magnitude 0.9, with a 9 arc. Second disk that’s, 26 percent, illuminated on the 20th over the next eight days. It brightens the little to magnitude 0.3 and shrinks slightly to 8 arc seconds, but is 46 percent illuminated by the end of the month. Saturn remains magnitude 0.7 and 15 arc seconds from the 20th to the 28th. While jupiter is magnitude, minus 2.0 and 33 arc seconds in diameter, the moon starts the month as a waning gibbous and reaches last quarter on the fourth you’ll, find it close to antares the brightest star in scorpius. The scorpion on the 6th before the moon turns new.
On the 11th, it will then return to the evening sky a few days later and reaches first quarter on the 19th look out for it close to the twin stars of castor and pollux on the 23rd. Lastly, february’s full moon, known as the snow moon, occurs on the 27th. This month’s deep sky object. The beehive cluster can be a little difficult for beginners to spot you’ll find it at the center of cancer. The crab, the faintest of the 12 constellations in the zodiac the best way to find it is to look about midway between the twin stars of castro and pollocks and gemini and regulus in leo. If you live under dark skies, you might just be able to glimpse a tiny misty patch of light. Binoculars will show this patch as a tiny cluster of stars with the individual member stars being quite easily visible. Telescopically you’ll need to use a low magnification, probably around 30 times or lower, otherwise the cluster won’t be able to fit within the same field of view. You will see a multitude of blue white stars with a distinctive house like pattern near the center. If you’re familiar with the night sky, it might remind you of the autumn constellation of cepheus, the king, the beehive lies close to the ecliptic, the path the sun, moon and planets, follow as they move across the sky. As a result, you can sometimes see the moon or a planet passing close by or even among the stars of the cluster, for example, the planets saturn and mars both moved through the cluster in june of 2006.
. If you want another opportunity to see a closer encounter between mars and the beehive be sure to make a note in your diary for october 2026, if you’re able to get up early from the 9th to the 12th of that month, you’ll be able to see the Coppery planet moving among the blue white stars of the cluster that’s it for this month. If you liked the video hit the subscribe button and feel free to comment below, if you’re interested in my books, you can find them at tinyurl.com forward, slash rjb, amazon, us and, if you’d like to come, join the stars and stuff facebook group. You can find it at tinyurl.com forward, slash sns facebook group. Lastly, you’re more than welcome to email me at astronomywriter gmail.