By Duncan Lunan
The Moon will be New on February 4th and Full on February 19th, another ‘Supermoon’ when the Moon is Full at its closest to Earth. January, February and March’s are all Supermoons, but February’s is closest of the three and the closest for the next eight years. On the night of February 13th/14th the Moon passes through the Hyades star cluster in Taurus, and on the night of the 17th and 18th it grazes Praesepe, the Beehive Cluster in Cancer.
The planet Mercury appears low in the evening sky in the second half of the month, after superior conjunction with the Sun on January 30th, and at greatest elongation from the Sun on the 27th, setting at 7.30 p.m.. Although Mercury will never be more than 11 degrees above the horizon this time, it will be the best chance to see the planet this year. Mercury is near the young crescent Moon from the 5th to the 7th.
Venus is still bright in the morning sky, rising at 5.00 a.m., with the Moon nearby on the 1st and 2nd, and passing one degree north of Saturn on the 18th.
Mars moves from Pisces to Aries in mid-February, setting around 9.30 p.m., near the Moon on the 10th and very near Uranus on the 12th.
Jupiter is in the morning sky in Ophiucus, rising at 3.30 a.m.. The Moon is near Jupiter on the mornings of the 27th and 28th.
Saturn in Sagittarius is back in the morning sky, with the thin waning Moon very near it on the 2nd.. Saturn is near Venus, though much fainter, on the 18th.
Uranus moves from Pisces into Aries, one degree to the left of Mars on February 12th.
Neptune in Aquarius sets about 7 p.m., near the Moon on the 7th, disappearing behind the Sun by the end of February.
“Starfield, science fiction by Scottish writers”, edited by Duncan Lunan, is available from the publishers at https://www.shorelineofinfinity.com/product/starfield. Duncan’s recent books “Children from the Sky”, “The Stones and the Stars”, “Incoming Asteroid!” and “The Elements of Time” are available from the publishers, on Amazon or through booksellers; details are on Duncan’s website, www.duncanlunan.com.