NIGHT SKY FOR FEBRUARY 2021

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NIGHT SKY FOR FEBRUARY 2021

BRIGHT STARS, COLD NIGHTS!

By Bob BermanFebruary 1, 2020

The Winter Triangle

The Winter TriangleHubble

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Here’s the February 2021 Guide to the Bright Planets from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. In February, many of the big planets have faded but the clear, cold nights are bright with stars! Here are Bob Berman’s highlights of the night sky.

SKY WATCH FEBRUARY 2021

by Bob Berman, as featured in The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Bright Planets

  • Jupiter and Saturn, after passing behind the Sun during January’s last week, have deserted the evening sky, leaving low Mercury alone to finish up its own challenging apparition.
     
  • On February 11, Venus and Jupiter will meet about 30 minutes before sunrise.  Look to the southeast horizon. This conjunction may be difficult to see in the morning twilight. Venus will be the brighter planet (about 6 times brighter than Jupiter now). You may need binoculars or a telescope to see both planets, which will be closely paired within the same binocular frame.
     
  • Mars appears in the evening sky, much higher, on the Aries/Taurus boundary. Although fading, the Red Planet is still conspicuous at magnitude 0.76. Watch it hover dramatically just above the half Moon on the 18th.
     
  • Low in the predawn eastern sky at month’s end, the Jupiter–Saturn–Mercury threesome has been copied and pasted from their January evening-sky venue, but the grouping is just 7 degrees high in the brightening twilight, requiring an unobstructed, oceanlike horizon. The asteroid Vesta, in the tail of Leo, can be easily seen with binoculars at magnitude 6.3.

See the Almanac’s Bright Planets Calculator to find out when planets rise and set. Just type in your zip code.

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February Moon Phases

February’s full Moon reaches peak fullness at 3:19 A.M. EST on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Look skyward on Friday night to catch the best view of this full Moon! 

Last Quarter: Feb. 4, 12:37 P.M. EST
New Moon: Feb. 11, 2:06 P.M. EST
First Quarter: Feb. 19, 1:47 P.M.
EST Full Moon: Feb. 27, 3:17 A.M. EST

See the Moon Phase Calendar for your location.

Here at the Almanac, we’ve long called February’s Moon the ”Snow Moon” due to the typically heavy snowfall that occurs in February. Other Native American names for this Moon are: Make Branches Fall Into Pieces Moon, Raccoon Moon, and Hunger Moon. 

Read more about the February Snow Moon here!

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