Since February is the shortest month of the year, it’s not surprising that there are less sky events than other months. There are, however, some events that you may want to get outside and catch a glimpse of. Let’s take a look at what to expect in the sky during the month of February.
During the night of February 5th, asteroid 20 Massalia will be at opposition, meaning that it will be exactly opposite of the sun with Earth in between them. You will, however, need a telescope to view it high up in the southern sky in the constellation Cancer. The best time to catch a glimpse of the asteroid will be about midnight local time.
From our perspective here on Earth, our moon will pass in front of Uranus on February 7th (this event is called the lunar occultation of Uranus). In fact, this will occur ten times throughout the year, with this one being the first of 2022. However, this specific event will only be visible to anyone who may be sailing through the far southern portion of the Atlantic Ocean. Better luck next time.
Mercury will reach its morning peak on February 8th just before sunrise. Before the sun appears over the horizon, Mercury will be located above it. Specifically, it will be at a peak altitude of 13° over the horizon. If you look towards the southeastern horizon and spot Mars and Venus, Mercury will be close by.
During the night of February 8th, it will be the peak of the α-Centaurid (alpha Centaurid) meteor shower that could produce up to five meteors per hour, so you will need to be patient if you want to see any shooting stars. Those living in the southern hemisphere will have the best view of the meteor shower in the constellation Centaurus.
While Venus is normally very bright, it will be even brighter during the morning of February 9th when it will be at a magnitude of -4.6. You will be able to spot it just above the southeastern horizon. Additionally, if you missed seeing Mercury the previous morning, you should be able to witness it not too far from the exceptionally bright Venus near the horizon prior to the sun rising.
Venus and Mars will be in conjunction during the morning of February 12th, meaning that they will rise in the sky in the same direction and angle. They will also be very close together, at a distance of only 6°34′ from each other. You should be able to easily see them in the southeastern part of the sky.
On February 27th, the moon, Venus, and Mars will be in conjunction. The moon will pass by Venus at a distance of 8°44′. A few hours later, it will travel by Mars just 3°31′ away from it. Seeing the waning crescent moon pass closely by two different planets during the same night will be a great way to finish off the month.
Happy sky watching!