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Read our February sky notes to find out what’s in the night sky this month!

Map

Constellations

These constellations are well placed in the evening this month, but many more can be seen. Check the star map for more.

Gemini can be first seen high in the sky this month. Look for it towards the east in the early evening, before it begins its journey westward across the sky throughout the night. It’s visible for most of the night, setting a couple of hours before dawn.

Labelled constellation of Gemini.

Leo rises in the north east during the early hours of the evening, moving across the southern sky over the course of the night. It can be seen all night, but best views will be around midnight when it is highest in the sky. By the end of the month, Leo begins to rise before sunset.

Labelled constellation of Leo.

Boötes can be seen later in the evening and in the morning sky, rising in the northeast around 23:00 GMT at the beginning of the month. By the end, it rises around 20:00 GMT and spends longer in the sky. Best views will be in the early hours of the morning and just before dawn, where it can be seen high in the southern sky.

Planets

Mercury will be difficult to observe this month, as it stays very close to the horizon. At the beginning of the month, it can be seen low in the western sky just after sunset. Throughout most of the rest of the month is will not be visible, until it reach its highest point in the morning sky on the 24th. However, this will only be a few degrees above the south eastern horizon. Never point binoculars or telescopes directly at the Sun.

Venus stays close to the Sun this month, and will therefore not be visible. It reaches aphelion, its furthest point from the Sun, on the 20th.

Mars is well placed for observation high in the southern sky in the early evening. It moves further west as the month goes on, setting in the early hours of the morning. Mars will be in conjunction with the Moon on the 18th.

Jupiter is close to the Sun this month, so will not be visible for most of the month. It rises very close to sunrise towards the end of the month, just becoming visible above the eastern horizon. Never point binoculars or telescopes directly at the Sun.

Saturn is close to the Sun this month, and therefore not visible.

Uranus appears close to Mars this month, moving slowly away from the much brighter planet as the month goes on. It is too faint to be observed with the naked eye. Look for it with binoculars in the south western evening sky.

Neptune is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. It is situated low in the western sky in the early evening this month, setting a few hours before the higher placed Mars and Uranus.

Moon

Last Quarter: 4th

New Moon: 11th

First Quarter: 19th

Full Moon: 27th

The Moon is at perigee, its closest point to the Earth, on the 3rd, and apogee, its furthest point from the Earth on the 18th. This effect is not visually apparent.

The Moon is at perihelion, its closest point to the Sun, on the 10th. This effect is not visually apparent.

Points of Interest

Asteroid 18 Melpomene reaches opposition on the 2nd. It sits in the constellation of Cancer and reaches its highest point in the sky around midnight. It will be visible most of the night, from about 19:30 to 04:50 GMT.

Asteroid 18 Melpomene (21:34 GMT)

Asteroid 29 Amphitrite reaches opposition on the night of the 22nd. It will be visible between 19:31 and 05:09, being best viewed around midnight when it reaches it’s highest point in the sky. Look for it above the southern horizon.

Asteroid 29 Amphitrite (00:45 GMT)

Visit Spot the Station to find out when the ISS will be visible from your location.

Last updated: 9th January.

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