Top 8 Astronomy Events to Watch: February 2021
Oh, how time is flying! Just like that, the first month of 2021 has come and gone. Here at TelescopeTek, we are pumped about the stargazing events February has in store. This month boasts incredible nebula views and planetary conjunctions. So grab your favorite telescope or pair of binoculars because you’re not going to want to miss out.
February 1: Orion Nebula is high in the sky
The Orion Nebula will be high in the sky for optimal viewing on the night of February 1. Also known as the Messier 42, it is a bright and spectacular nebula with enough material to produce 10,000 stars the size of our sun! The Orion Nebula can be found in the middle of the sword that hangs from Orion’s 3-starred belt. You’ll be able to see a fuzzy definition of the Nebula with a pair of binoculars, but with a medium to large aperture telescope, you’ll be able to make out incredible patterns of veil-like gas and dust lanes. For even more detail, add an Oxygen-III or broadband nebula filter to your scope. The Orion Nebula is a mind-blowing 1,350 light-years away, and makes for a sight that you definitely won’t want to miss.
February 6: Venus passes Saturn
Just before sunrise on February 6th, you’ll be able to catch Venus and Saturn together in the same field of view through your telescope or binoculars! Venus will be twice as far from Saturn the day before and after, so this is the best day to catch this conjunction. Be sure to put your optics away before the sun rises and never look directly into the sun!
February 11: Venus-Jupiter Conjunction
Catch Venus and Saturn together on February 11. To the naked eye they’ll be visible as two vibrant dots, but for an even better view, break out your telescope or binoculars. They’ll appear together in the same field of view about 20-30 minutes before sunrise. As a bonus, Saturn will be about a palm’s width away from Venus’ upper right side. Again, be sure to put your optics away before the sun rises!
Feb 11: New Moon
Also on February 11th is the New Moon. This means there will be no visible moon in the sky on this night. With no moonlight to interfere, you’ll have a great opportunity to observe faint galaxies and star clusters.
Feb 13: Pleiades star cluster
On the night of Feb 13, the Pleiades star cluster (aka the Seven Sisters or the Messier 45) will be positioned high in the sky. The Pleiades cluster is a collection of medium-bright, hot blue stars. To the naked eye you’ll only be able to see 6 of the 7 sisters. Through a telescope you’ll find that there are in fact hundreds of stars in the cluster.
Feb 14: Sirius shines bright
One of the sky’s brightest stars, Sirius, will reach its highest point over the horizon on Feb 14. Sirius is a hot, white, A class star a whole 8.6 light years away and is visible to the naked eye.
Feb 23: Mercury & Saturn meet
Mercury will sit only 4 degrees to the left of a slightly dimmer Saturn on February 23rd. All you’ll need to see them is a pair of binoculars. They’ll be visible around 6am local time, and Jupiter will follow a mere 20 minutes after.
Feb 27: Full Moon
February’s full moon was known by the Native Americans as the Snow Moon or the Hunger Moon due to the heavy snow and harsh weather of the season. The moon will have a fully illuminated face with no shadows to skew our vision of the moon’s geology.