The moon opens the month at new phase, and Jupiter is close at hand, but maybe a tough observation close to the horizon at sundown. Uranus is 1.2 degrees north of the waxing gibbous moon Feb. 7, and occultation in the extreme south. Wednesday, Feb. 9, sees the dwarf planet Ceres 0.03 degrees south of the moon, an occultation in the Eastern Hemisphere. Feb. 11, the moon is 1.9 degrees north of the cluster M35. The moon is full Feb. 16; at last quarter Feb. 23; four degrees south of Mars Feb. 27; and four degrees south of Mercury Feb. 28.
Mercury for the early riser is at its greatest elongation west Feb. 16, also forming a nice triangle with Venus and Mars — should be an easy sighting in the eastern dawn sky. Watch for the nearby moon Feb. 28.
Venus is at greatest illuminated extend (GIE) Feb. 12, and, at the same time, is seven degrees north of Mars. Mercury, Venus and Mars form an isosceles triangle on the morning of Feb. 16. Venus and Mars remain close by each other for the remainder of the month, joined by the moon Feb. 27.
Mars, in Sagittarius throughout February, catches up to Venus and remains in lockstep with the bright planet for the rest of the month; joined by the moon Feb. 27.
Jupiter is just barely visible near the horizon at sunset. The very thin slice of the moon passes by Feb. 2.
Saturn is in conjunction with the sun, so not in view.
Uranus is occulted for Southern Hemisphere viewers Feb. 7, 1.2 degrees north of the moon for the rest of the world.
Neptune barely becomes visible for the telescope-equipped viewer at sunset; lost in the sun’s glare by month end
The zodiacal light is visible on northern latitudes in the west after evening twilight for the last two weeks of the month.
James Edgar has had an interest in the night sky all his life. He joined the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in 2000, was national president for two terms, is now the editor of the Observer’s Handbook, and production manager of the bi-monthly RASC Journal. The IAU named asteroid 1995 XC5 “(22421) Jamesedgar” in his honour and he was recently awarded a fellowship of the RASC.