February 2008

Lunar Events

Since the new moon occurs on Wednesday, February 6th, 2008 the weekends of February 2nd-3rd and February 9th-10th will be good for dark sky observing.

The full moon for this month occurs on February 20th and is known as the Full Worm Moon. It is also known as the Lenten Moon, Sap Moon or Crow Moon.

Total Lunar Eclipse - February 20th, 2008

As the Moon rises at 5:40PM (pst) it immediately starts a Full Lunar Eclipse until 9:35 PM (pst).


February 20th, 2008 - The Moon rises around 5:40pm and starts the Total Lunar Eclipse until around 9:35pm (pst). Movie shows the moon as viewed from Los Angeles, California.


February 20th, 2008 - Movie shows the Earth as viewed from the Moon during the Eclipse.

Lunar Eclipse

An Eclipse occurs when one astronomical object moves into the shadow of another. The two types of eclipses of most interest to Earthlings, are Solar Eclipses when the Moon’s shadow is cast across the seurface of the Earth, and Lunar Eclipses where the Earth’s shadow is cast onto the Moon. Lunar and Solar Eclipses usually occur two weeks from each other. Solar Eclpse always occur during a New Moon and Lunar Eclipses always occur during a Full Moon.

Celestial Events

The orbit of the Earth re-syncs with the celestial sky on Leap Day, February 29th, 2008.

Mercury

At the beginning of the month, Mercury is vanishing into the glare of the evening sunset and re-appears around February 12th in the morning. As the month progresses and Mercury is moving away from the Sun, Venus is moving toward the glare of the Sun, so that by February 22nd, Venus is with 3°30’ of Mercury.

February 26<sup>th</sup>, 2008 - <ercury, Venus, Neptune” width=”440″ height=”300″></p>
<p>      By February 26<sup>th</sup> <A HREF='javascript:open_window(%22Venus%22)'>Venus</A> is  passing <A HREF='javascript:open_window(%22Mercury%22)'>Mercury</A> within 1°15’ . <A HREF='javascript:open_window(%22Mercury%22)'>Mercury</A> and</p>
<p>      <A HREF='javascript:open_window(%22Venus%22)'>Venus</A> are in close proximity  for the rest of the month.</p>
<p class=Mercury starts out the month in the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat and by the 3rd  of Feburary it crosses into the constellation Aqaurius, the Water Bearer.  Just as Mercury re-appears in the morning, on February 13th, Mercury returns to the constellation Capricornus

Venus

Feb 1, 2008 - Venus, Jupiter, Pluto

On February 1st, Venus is a mere 0°40’ from the planets Jupiter in the

constellation Sagittarius, the Archer. 

As the month progresses Venus moves away from Jupiter and crosses into the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat on February 17th. By the 26th, Venus is passing Mercury within 1°15’.

Mars

Observing Mars is still very good from its opposition last Christmas Eve.  Mars is observable almost all night, all month and is found in the constellation Taurus, the Bull. 

Feb 16 - Mars, Moon

On February 16th, around 1:00am (PST) the waxing, gibbous Moon

will pass within 1°10’ of Mars.

Jupiter

Jupiter is located in the constellation Sagittarius, the Archer, until January 2009.  Jupiter is found in the morning hours all month.  On February 1st Jupiter is found within 0°40’ of the Morning Star, Venus.

Feb 4, 2008 - Jupiter, Venus, Moon. Pluto

On February 4th, Jupiter is in triple conjunction with Venus and the waning,

crescent Moon, within 6°.

Saturn

February 24 - Saturn at Opposition

February 24, 2008 - Saturn reaches Opposition!

Saturn is fantastic viewing this month as it reaches opposition on February 24thSaturn is visible all night, all month and is found in the constellation Leo, the Lion until 2009. 

February 20 - Saturn, Regulus, Moon

Fours days before, on February 20th, the opposition Saturn is located

in triple conjunction with the star Regulus and the Full Worm Moon, all

within about 5°40’ of each other.

Uranus

Uranus is visible after sunset until February 22nd, when it disappears into the glare of the Sun.  Uranus is located in the constellation Aquarius until 2009.

Feb. 15 2008 Uranus

Febuary 1st, 2008 - Uranus‘ position at sunset.

Neptune

Neptune is located in the constellation Capricornus, the Sea Goat, until 2010.  Neptune is lost in the glare of the Sun for most of the month and reappears in the morning sky around February 25th.

February 29<sup>th</sup>, 2008 - Neptune, Venus, Mercury, Jupiter” width=”440″ height=”300″></p>
<p>      February 29<sup>th</sup>, 2008 - By the end of the month <A HREF='javascript:open_window(%22Neptune%22)'>Neptune</A> emerges from </p>
<p>      the glare of sunrise. </p>
<p>      <P class=Pluto

The planet-formerly-known-as-Pluto is located in the constellation Sagittarius until 2023.  Pluto can be found in the morning hours all month.  At the beginning of the month, Pluto rises around 4:00am (PST) and by the end of the month Pluto is rising around 2:00am (PST).

Feb 15, 2008 - Pluto, Jupiter, Venus, Mercury, Neptune

February 15th, 2008 - Positions of Pluto in relation to Jupiter, Venus,

Mercury

and Neptune at sunrise, mid-month.

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