Eye on the Sky

Here is our pick of what to look out in the night sky during February 2019

Highlights of the month

Evening Milky Way A pale band of light arcing across the sky from north west to south and falling towards the horizon as the night progresses. At this time of the year we are looking out through the disc of the Milky Way towards intergalactic space. The bright galactic core is underneath our feet just now!
Evening Zodiacal Light A pale pyramid of light stretching up from the horizon just south of west. Invisible to most people in the United Kingdom is can nevertheless be spotted from most places in our Dark Sky Park. Look for it from just after dark for about an hour or so. It is caused by sunlight reflecting off dust in the plane of the solar system.
Evening Orion A very conspicuous constellation visible in the south and moving west as the evening progresses. Have a look for the Great Orion Nebula with binoculars. It is in the middle of the sword that hangs down from his belt
Evening  The Beehive  A misty glow just west of the centre of Cancer. Binoculars will reveal a pretty cluster of stars
Evening Mars Visible in the west
Morning Venus and Jupiter Visible in the east just before sunrise

Night Sky Diary

4th New Moon  A beautiful crescent moon will be visible in the west around sunset. See if you can spot the “Earthshine” on the dark part.
13th Moon in the Hyades Tonight the Moon will make a pass through the bright Hyades star cluster. A fine observing and photographic opportunity
19th Supermoon One of the brightest full moons of the year. This is because it will be closer to earth than usual
19th -20th Aurora Return of a coronal hole that has been entertaining us with the northern lights since the middle of last year
26th Lunar last quarter This is when our evening skies will be darkest. The next seven days will be the best time for spotting nebulae and distant galaxies
27th Mercury Our best opportunity for spotting this fleet footed planet this year. Look for it low in the west just after sunset for a few days either side of the 27th.
27th -28th Aurora Return of a second coronal hole that has also been causing auroral displays over the last six months