Nene Valley Astronomical Society
The Local Society For Amateur Astronomers In Wellingborough & East Northants
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Eagle's Eye - February 2011
 
 
THE MOON:
New Moon:  3rd February
First Quarter:  11th February
Full Moon:       18th February
Last Quarter:  24th February
 
 
As an aid to their identification, the Moon will be close to Jupiter on the evenings of February 6th and 7th,
Saturn on the mornings of February 21st and 22nd and Venus on the morning of February 28th. 
 
 

 
THE SOLAR SYSTEM:
 
Mercury:  Superior conjunction takes place on February 25th, so is unlikely to be seen
this month.
 
Venus:  Now drawing back towards the Sun and as the angle of the ecliptic changes it
also gets much lower in the pre-dawn south eastern sky.  The bright planet will still
though be very easy to spot as it shines like a beacon at around magnitude -4.
 
Mars:  Reaches conjunction with the Sun on February 4th, so will not be seen this month.
 
Jupiter:  Now starting to sink into the evening twilight by the end of the month.  Make the most
of any available observing opportunities to watch the re-development of the South
Equatorial Band (SEB).  Some observers have also noted that the Red Spot seems to be
getting paler in colour and much harder to see.
 
Saturn:  Visible after midnight in Virgo.  Pre-dawn observations will see the planet at its
highest making for better observing to catch fine detail in the rings and cloud belts.  The white
storm has not yet abated, so keep a look out for it
 
Uranus and Neptune:   Both becoming more difficult to see in the western sky after sunset.
 
 

 
THE STARS:
 
High in the South on a mid-February evening is the faint sprawling constellation of The Lynx, which
lies between Auriga in the West and Ursa Major, rising in the East.  The Heavenly Twins, Gemini
straddle the meridian, with the bright Procyon in Canis Minor due south.  Between Gemini and Leo
is Cancer the Crab with the open cluster M44, also known as the Beehive Cluster.  This makes for
great viewing with binoculars.  The area amongst Ursa Major an dLeo is a great galaxy hunting area, so get out and get searching.
 
 
 
 
 
Algol - this easy to follow naked eye variable star fades from its usual magnitude of 2.1 to 3.4 at
the following times:  February 10th at 3.7h, February 13th at 0.1h and February 15th at 20.9h 
 
 
 
For a much fuller guide, graphics and the latest news visit: www.eagleseye.co.uk
 
All times are GMT.
 
 
Dave Eagle