THE SOLAR SYSTEM IN FEBRUARY 2019

Dates and times shown are NZDT (UT + 13 hours) Rise and Set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data is adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.

THE SUN and PLANETS in FEBRUARY 2019, Rise & Set,  Mag. & Cons.
      February  1    NZDT           February 28    NZDT  
      Mag  Cons    Rise    Set     Mag  Cons    Rise    Set
SUN  -26.7  Cap   6.23am  8.44pm  -26.7  Aqr   6.57am  8.08pm
Merc  -1.5  Cap   6.25am  8.58pm   -0.3  Psc   8.33am  8.40pm
Venus -4.3  Sgr   2.59am  5.48pm   -4.1  Sgr   3.32am  6.09pm
Mars   0.9  Psc  12.18pm 11.28pm   .1.2  Ari  12.06pm 10.26pm
Jup   -1.9  Oph   2.12am  5.10pm   -2.0  Oph  12.41am  3.42pm
Sat    0.6  Sgr   4.09am  7.07pm    0.6  Sgr   2.36am  5.31pm
Uran   5.8  Psc  12.57pm 11.51pm    5.9  Ari  11.15am 10.07pm
Nep    8.0  Aqr   9.14am 10.11pm    8.0  Aqr   7.33am  8.27pm
Pluto 14.5  Sgr   4.39am  7.34pm   14.5  Sgr   2.57am  5.51pm

             February  1  NZDT          February 28  NZDT
Twilights    morning     evening        morning     evening
Civil:    start 5.55am, end  9.13pm   start 6.31am, end  8.35pm
Nautical: start 5.17am, end  9.51pm   start 5.57am, end  9.09pm
Astro:    start 4.35am, end 10.32pm   start 5.22am, end  9.44pm

      FEBRUARY PHASES OF THE MOON, times NZDT (& UT)
  New moon:      February  5 at 10.04pm (Feb  4, 21:04 UT)
  First quarter: February 13 at 11.26am (Feb 12, 22:26 UT)
  Full Moon:     February 20 at  4.53am (Feb 19, 15:53 UT)
  Last quarter   February 27 at 12.28am (Feb 26, 11:28 UT)


PLANETS in February 2019.

The three brightest planets are all morning objects although you'd need to look about 5.30 am to see them all. The crescent moon joins the three on the first three mornings. Venus starts about February about 9° below Jupiter, moving down and past Saturn during the month.

VENUS rises more than 3 hours before the Sun all month, making it a brilliant object towards the east in the dawn sky. February 1 finds Venus in Ophiuchus, poised to move into Sagittarius. Also the crescent moon will be close by with the nearer limb half a degree, one diameter, to the lower left of the planet. An occultation of Venus will be visible over a broad band across the central Pacific, much of it during daylight hours.

Venus passes two other planets towards the end of February. On the morning of the 19th Saturn will be just over 1° to the upper right of Venus, both easily seen up to about 5.45 am. They will be in a 5° binocular field for some 4 days either side of that date. On the 23rd and 24th Venus moves past Pluto. At their closest they will be about 1.5° apart.

JUPITER is a morning object in February, moving through Ophiuchus. On the morning of the 28th, the moon, one day after last quarter will be about 3° to the lower left of the planet.

SATURN is also a morning object rising about two hours after Jupiter. It will be in Sagittarius. Early in the month the moon passes Saturn, with an occultation visible from central Europe, Algeria, Tunisia and western parts of Libya. From NZ the moon crescent moon will be 7° to the upper left of Saturn on the morning of the 2nd and nearly 5.5° away to the lower right of the planet on the 3rd.

As seen from NZ, Venus passes Saturn on the morning of February 19, when the two planets will be 1.1° apart.

PLUTO is a morning object in Sagittarius. Venus is about 1.5° to the left of Pluto on the morning of 23 February and a similar distance to the lower left of Pluto on the 24th..

EVENING SKY PLANETS

MARS is an early evening object, moves from Pisces to Aries on February 13. As it does so it will be 1° below Uranus, magnitude 5.8. The moon passes Mars on the morning of the 12th. From NZ on the 11th they will be 8° apart and about a degree closer on evening of the 12th.

MERCURY is also nominally an evening object setting soon after the Sun but is not likely to be visible. By February 26 it will be at its greatest elongation 18° east of the Sun, but setting only 33 minutes after the Sun.

URANUS sets just over 3 hours after the Sun at the beginning of the month and 2 hours after it by the end. It starts February in Pisces but moves into Aries on the 6th. Mars will be 1° below Uranus on the 13th.

NEPTUNE is an evening twilight object in Aquarius during February. By the 28th it will set only 18 minutes after the Sun.

BRIGHTEST ASTEROIDS in FEBRUARY, mag. const. time of transit

BRIGHTEST ASTEROIDS in FEBRUARY, mag. const. time of transit

               FEBRUARY 1   NZDT      FEBRUARY 31 NZDT  
               Mag  Cons  transit    Mag  Cons  transit
(1)  Ceres     8.8   Sco   8.40am    8.6   Oph   7.23am
(2)  Pallas    8.7   Vir   6.33am    8.3   Vir   5.00am
(3)  Juno      8.9   Tau   8.30pm    9.3   Tau   7.18pm
(4)  Vesta     8.1   Aqr   2.51pm    7.9   Aqr   1.56pm
(6)  Hebe      9.2   Ori  10.34pm    9.9   Ori   8.53pm
(433)Eros      9.4   Tau   9.49pm   10.2   Mon   9.17pm
(532)Herculina 8.9   Leo   2.16am    9.2   Cnc  12.07am

CERES is in Scorpius during the first half of February, and in Ophiuchus in the 2nd half. It rises at 1.43 am on the 1st and 12.20 am on the 28th.

PALLAS, in Virgo, is also a morning object, rising at 12.21am on the 1st and 11.13 pm on the 28th.

JUNO is an evening object in Taurus, setting well after midnight.

VESTA sets at 9.51pm on February 1 at the end of nautical twilight. So it will be too low to observe as the sky darkens. By the 28th Vesta is only 6° from the Sun.

HEBE is in the evening sky, setting well after midnight

EROS starts February at magnitude 9.4, so faint in 50mm binoculars. During the month it gets higher in southern skies but as the Earth pulls away from it, the asteroid gets fainter especially in the second half of February.

HERCULINA is at opposition on February 6 with a magnitude 8.9. Being well north of the equator it does not rise then until 9.41 pm at Wellington. The asteroid moves from Leo to Cancer on the 21st.

Brian Loader

 

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