Monthly Stargazing Calendar for February 2016

On February 7 Mercury will be at greatest western elongation of 25.6 degrees from the Sun. This makes it the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.

Moon phases

As you know, the moon has a big impact on the visibility of celestial bodies in the night sky. So here are the moon’s phases for this month:

Moon Phases Calendar February 2016

Positions of the planets this month

Mercury: The closest planet to the Sun can be seen at dawn and dusk travelling between the constellations of Sagittarius and Capricornus, not far from Venus. This planet, being the closest to the Sun, will appear to move quickly in the night sky and its position will change in the following weeks.

Venus: The sister planet can be seen near Mercury travelling between the constellations of Sagittarius and Capricornus. Just like Mercury, Venus can only be seen at dawn and dusk.

Mars: The red planet can be seen in the constellation Libra.

Jupiter: The gas giant is visible between the constellations of Leo and Virgo. Jupiter can easily be spotted with the naked eye, even in highly illuminated cities.

Saturn: The ringed giant can be seen with the naked eye in the constellation of Ophiuchus.

Uranus: The gas giant can be seen in the constellation of Pisces with the use of a telescope.

Neptune: The blue giant requires a telescope pointed in the constellation of Aquarius in order to be seen.

Major astronomical events next month

  • March 8 – Jupiter at Opposition.
  • March 9 – Total Solar Eclipse.
  • March 20 – March Equinox.
  • March 23 – Penumbral Lunar Eclipse.