February 2018

The month starts with a just-past-full moon and ends with a just-before-full moon making February a month without a full moon. A lunar month is 29.5 days. Because February has only 28 days (or occasionally 29), the entire month often passes without all four moon phases represented. In 2018, it just so happens that the full moon is blocked out by the time constraint. Last quarter is on the 7th, new moon on the 15th, and first quarter on the 23rd. 

Jupiter, Mars, Saturn February through mid-April 2018

Venus is barely an evening object when February begins. It’s moving eastward, but not quickly enough to make a lot of progress against the later sunsets for watchers in the northern hemisphere this month. It will pass through Aquarius and head toward Pisces.

Pisces is high in the west at sunset. Orion is high in the east.

Our morning sky is graced with Jupiter in the diamond of Libra this month. Mars starts February next to Acrab in Scorpius while Saturn is at the top of the teapot of Sagittarius. Watch Mars pass a few degrees north of Antares at the base of Ophiuchus on the way toward Sagittarius. Mars will meet up with Saturn at the end of March and the start of April. Use February to watch the journey.

Venus and Mercury on February 28, 2018Mercury, ever hard to spot, doesn’t put on much of a show this month. After going through superior conjunction on the 17th, it emerges in the evening sky toward the end of February. It’s poised to join Venus in early March.

There’s a partial solar eclipse on the 15th. Viewing is from southern South America and Antarctica.

021518 partial solar eclipse orthographic visibility map

The moon is 4.1 degrees north of Jupiter on the 7th.

On the 1st, the moon will occult Mercury. Northern parts of Asia, Europe, and Greenland get the view. So does the Arctic.

Some conjunctions this month, including some described above:

1st – Moon north of Regulus

5th – Moon north of Spica

7th – Jupiter south of moon

9th – Mars south of moon

9th – Moon north of Antares

11th – Saturn south of moon

11th – Mars north of Antares

15th Mercury south of moon

16th – Venus north of moon

17th – Neptune north of moon

17th – Mercury at superior conjunction

20th – Uranus north of moon

21st – Neptune north of Venus

23rd – Moon north of Aldebaran

25th – Neptune north of Mercury

26th Moon south of Pollux

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