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The Night Sky in February

Nature volume 145, page 146 (27 January 1940) | Download Citation



DURING this month, the night shortens in the latitude of London by 1¾ hours. The moon is new on February 8 and full on February 23. Lunar conjunctions with the planets occur as follows: with Venus on February 11d. 21h., with Jupiter on 12d. 14h., with Saturn on 14d. 3h., with Mars on 14d. 4h. It will be seen from these conjunctions that the bright planets are a striking feature in the evening skies, enhanced by the presence of the crescent moon. On February 13 at 8h., Mars, which had overtaken Jupiter on January 7, is in conjunction with Saturn, while on February 20 at 22h., Venus and Jupiter are in conjunction. On February 28, Mercury is at greatest elongation (18° east) and should be visible low in the west after sunset, leading the train of nve bright planets, in addition to Uranus (stellar magnitude 6) in the constellation Aries. The planet Neptune, which transits about 2h. in mid-February, approaches the 8th magnitude star, B.D. + 3° 2549 (Lalande 22237) on February 14. The light variation of Algol (total variation mag. 2·2–mag. 3·5) is best seen about 1½ hours before and after the following epochs: February 8d. 4·5h., lid. l·3h., 13d. 22·lh. and 16d. 19·0h.

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