Thursday, 31 January 2019

Welcome to the Pickering Astronomy blog, providing updates on what to see in skies above Pickering with the unaided eye during February 2019.

Stars and Constellations

Here is a short list of night sky sights for the unaided eye during February.

   The constellations of Perseus, Auriga and Orion are high in the sky and are convenient to view during February evenings
   Perseus is high in the northwestern sky and includes numerous blue stars (especially distinct and bright in binoculars)
   Auriga is overhead and the most prominent star is the bright yellow-coloured star Capella
   Orion is in the southern sky and is a distinct constellation with many bright stars, particularly red-orange coloured Betelgeuse (upper left section of the constellation) and blue-coloured Rigel (lower right part of the constellation)
   Orion’s 3 “belt stars” are very distinctive and help to recognize the constellation
   The winter Milky Way flows north-south through Perseus and Auriga and southward just east of Orion

Planets

   Mercury emerges into the evening sky during the second half of February but remains low in the western sky after sunset
   Venus shines brightly in the southeastern sky before sunrise
   Jupiter is also in the southeastern pre-dawn sky, in the constellation of Ophiuchus
   Mars continues to shine in the southwestern sky, and sets by late evening
   Saturn is also visible low in the southeastern pre-dawn sky and is very close to Venus during and around the 18th of February


Moon Phases

   New Moon February 4, 16:03 EST
   First Quarter Moon February 12, 17:26 EST
   Full Moon February 19, 10:53 EST
   Last Quarter Moon February 26, 06:28 EST

Noteworthy Sky Events

Venus and Saturn will appear very close in the pre-dawn sky during the period February 16-20 (closest during the morning of February 18)
length of daylight increases by 1 hour and 19 minutes from February 1 to 28

Sky Resources Online

Some website resources for sky charts, weekly sky events, and more information:
  • www.skymaps.com
  • www.heavens-above.com
  • www.skynews.ca
  • www.skyandtelescope.com
  • http://astrogeoguy.tumblr.com/
Below is a chart of the sky as it would appear above Pickering, Ontario during evening, mid-February (courtesy of www.heavens-above.com). Custom sky charts like this can be plotted and printed at the websites www.heavens-above.com or www.skymaps.com.