What’s Up in the February Sky?
February’s Evening Planets:
Spot red Mars all night moving between Aries the Ram and Taurus the Bull. Neptune is in Aquarius the Water Bearer until 8 PM, setting earlier every night until 6 PM by the end of February. Uranus is in Pisces the Fish until midnight, setting earlier toward 10 PM through the month.
February’s Evening Stars:
View the Winter Triangle; Sirius, the brightest star viewed from Earth, in Canis Major the Great Dog; Betelgeuse in Orion the Hunter; and Procyon in Canis Minor the Small Dog. Spot Rigel in Orion, Capella in Auriga the Charioteer, Aldebaran in Taurus the Bull, and bright Castor and Pollux in Gemini the Twins. Also find the stars of constellations Cassiopeia, Perseus, Cepheus, Draco, Leo, Aries, and Ursa Major and Ursa Minor (the Big and Little Dippers).
February’s Morning Planets:
Bright Venus can be seen for half an hour before sunrise in the first 3 weeks of February moving between Sagittarius the Archer and Capricornus the Sea-goat. Jupiter and Saturn will be in Capricornus the Sea-goat about 30 minutes before sunrise as of the second week of the month. Mercury will be in Capricornus the Sea-goat for an hour before sunrise in the second half of February. Dwarf Pluto will be in Sagittarius the Archer as of 6 AM and rising earlier every morning.
February’s Morning Stars:
See the Summer Triangle of Vega in Lyra the Harp, Deneb in Cygnus the Swan, and Altair in Aquila the Eagle as 4 AM and earlier every day this month. Look for Capella in Auriga, reddish Antares in Scorpius, Castor and Pollux in Gemini, Arcturus in Boötes the Herds-man, and Spica in Virgo, along with the stars of constellations Leo, Hercules, Libra, Cancer, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Major, and Ursa Minor (the Big and Little Dippers).
Feb. 3: Moon at perigee (230,000 miles away)
Feb. 4: Third Quarter Moon at 12:35 PM
Feb. 8: Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, Moon and Antares line up, Pre-dawn
Feb. 11: Venus-Jupiter conjunction, Sunrise
Feb. 11: New Moon at 2:05 PM
Feb. 18: Moon at apogee (251,300 miles away)
Feb. 19: Aldebaran, Moon, and Mars Arc
Feb. 19: First Quarter Moon at 1:47 PM
Feb. 23: Mercury and Saturn 4° apart, Pre-dawn
Feb. 27: Full Snow Moon at 3:17 AM
Times given in EDT.
Download Ken Graun’s February 2021 sky chart for reference and observing ideas.
Another equally helpful resource is Skymaps’ monthly evening sky chart, available for different hemispheres. Download The Evening Sky Map for February.