This page shows a brief summary of what interesting things we can see in the sky this month.
A more detailed version of the 'What's Up' this month is available as a downloadable PDF document right at the bottom of this page.
February is a reasonably quiet month for astronomical
events, however it remains a a dark month, so make the
most of any clear nights! Highlights of this month continue
to be the great Orion Nebula. The European AstroFest is also
taking place on the 2nd and 3rd in London.
From January to October this year, the Sun is at Solar Maximum - a period of strong solar activity that occurs around every 11 years. Due to this, we should see an increase in regularity, strength and spread of the Aurora Borealis.
Remember: to never look at the sun with a telescope, at worst you might blind yourself, at best you'll melt your telescope! If you are interested in Solar viewing, speak to our members, we have special equipment to help you! If you do not have a solar scope, you can watch using the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) or SDO.
The phases of the Moon are as follows:
At solar conjunction on the 27th so is not visible.
Bright in the sunrise, magnitude -3.9, and gets lower towards the end of the month.
Near solar conjunction with Mercury and Venus.
Magnitude -0.2, starting to set earlier each night.
Moving closer to the sunset and becoming more difficult to see.
Visible in the evening between Jupiter and Pleiades.
Low in the sky (15 degrees) in the west and sets around 8:00pm.
Vesta reaches opposition on the 21st.
Comet 62P Tsuchinshan is in Virgo at magnitude 8.
No meteor showers this month.
With 7x50 wide angle binoculars, sweep the Milky Way from Cassiopeia through Perseus and Auriga to Procyon. You will also be able to enjoy Hyades and Pleiades at the same time.
In the West before they set you can see M77 and M74 a pair of spiral galaxies. M33 the Triangulum Galaxy and M31 the Andromeda galaxy.
Looking South you will be able to see M41, M46, M47, M50 and M93, and of course M42! In the North, you can see M63, the Sunflower galaxy, and M101, the Pinwheel galaxy. Lastly, in the East the following objects will be rising, M48, M67 and M44, the Beehive cluster. Later in the night you can expect to
see M51, Whirlpool galaxy and M64 the Black Eye galaxy.
There are no upcoming broadcasts this month.
However, here are all the past episodes that are available to watch, in case you missed any: BBC4 The Sky At Night
Clear Skies and Happy New Year !