Society News and Night Sky Notes – February 1998

Society News Headlines

  • Feb 1st – Saturn is 0.6° North of Moon.
  • Feb 1st – Jodrell Bank radio telescope is to listen for ET.
  • Feb 1st – NASA stopped all planning work on the Manned Mission to Mars project, because of funding problems.
  • Feb 2nd – First International Conference on Comet Hale-Bopp, Canary Islands, Spain. (ends Feb 5th).
  • Feb 2nd – Mercury 2° South of Neptune.
  • Feb 2nd – ESA & EUMETSAT to fund new polar orbiting meteorological satellites. The first to be launched during 2003.
  • Feb 4th – The Student Nitric Oxide Explorer (SNOE) spacecraft due for launch to-day.
  • Feb 5th – Venus is stationary.
  • Feb 5th – Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri) is 0.2° South of Moon.
  • Feb 6th – Gamma-ray bursts may come from the most distant objects in the Universe. – RAS.
  • Feb 6th – NASA studying space weather from Puerto Rico.
  • Feb 6th – Reports indicate that the Lunar Prospector spacecraft has found evidence of frozen water on the Moon.
  • Feb 7th – SPA A.G.M., University of Westminster, London.
  • Feb 7th – More accurate ways to measure mass & densities of the first three largest asteroids.
  • Feb 7th – Huge telescope array observes waltz of stars.
  • Feb 7th – Happy 40th Birthday to David Galvin and very best wishes & clear skies for February 26th. GJG
  • Feb 8th – Mercury 1.4° South of Uranus.
  • Feb 8th – Celestsis company to launch more human remains into Earth Orbit.
  • Feb 9th – UA Optical Scientists polish Quartz blocks for Gravity probe B spacecraft.
  • Feb 9th – The recovery of Comet P/1998 B1 (Shoemaker-Levy8);55p has been reported. IAU Circular 6821
  • Feb 9th – Collecting meteorites from Mars in the Antarctica.
  • Feb 9th – Symposium on Mars sample return mission at AAAS meeting, Feb 12th – 17th.
  • Feb 10th – ESA unveils its big XMM spacecraft.
  • Feb 10th – Galileo spacecraft due to flyby Jupiter’s moon Europa.
  • Feb 10th – HST images of shock wave from a fading supernova 1987A are released to-day.Click Here
  • Feb 11th – Dr Adrian Russell named first Director of the UK Astronomy Technology Centre.
  • Feb 11th – Student signatures required for CD-Rom, which will be sent to Mars
  • Feb 11th – Astronomers & Scientists prepare for Feb 26th Total Solar Eclipse.
  • Feb 11th – New images from the NASA Global Surveyor spacecraft – show landing site for 1999 lander.
  • Feb 13th – Voyager 1 spacecraft now most distant human-made object in space. On Feb 17th it will be 6.5 billion miles from Earth.
  • Feb 13th – International Hale-Bopp conference at Tenerife – overview of finds.
  • Feb 13th – Scientists have evidence to suggest that the 11 year solar cycle is in Synch with Earth’s lower stratosphere.
  • Feb 13th – NASA name STS-95 shuttle crew to join John Glenn in his return to spaceflight.
  • Feb 13th – Launch of Shuttle flight STS-90 is delayed for two weeks until April 16th 1998.
  • Feb 13th – Budget boosts for USA astronomy.
  • Feb 14th – Pallas: Conjunction with Sun.
  • Feb 14th – BAA Comet Section Meeting 10:30am – 17:30am at IofA Cambridge.
  • Feb 18th – Australia to share in “Heavenly Twins”. Click Here.
  • Feb 18th – Scientists searches for the Moon’s core. Click Here
  • Feb 19th – Hipparcos spacecraft makes an accurate 3-D chart of a star cluster.
  • Feb 19th – Sentor John Glenn spins in Air Force centifuge. Image Here
  • Feb 19th – New logo selected for NASA,s next mission to Mars. News Here.
  • Feb 20th – Venus at greatest brilliancy.
  • Feb 20th – LAS monthly meeting at Liverpool Museum at 7pm. 3rd Floor Space Gallery.( Take lift from Transport Gallery).
  • Feb 20th – Iridium satellite flares – Prediction Service. Your lat/long coordinates are required.
  • Feb 21st – BAA Ordinary Meeting – London. 2:30pm.
  • Feb 22nd – Mercury at Superior conjunction.
  • Feb 22nd – Prof Stephen Hawking and his new cosmic theory – “Open Inflation”. How time began and will never end.
  • Feb 23rd – Venus 1.6° North of Moon.
  • Feb 23rd – Jupiter: in conjunction with the Sun.
  • Feb 23rd – Comet McNaught-Hughes at Perihelion (2.116 AU).
  • Feb 24th – Uranus and Neptune are 3° South of Moon.
  • Feb 24th – 30th Anniversary (1968), of the First Pulsar.
  • Feb 25th – Cassini Saturn probe on course for its flyby of Venus on April 26th.
  • Feb 26th – Multiple Mirror Telescope (MMT) is to close until the end of the year for major up-grade.
  • Feb 26th – First one piece 8.4 meter diameter mirror is ready for cleaning.
  • Feb 26th – Total Solar Eclipse of the Sun ( Not seen from U.K. ). LAS group travel to Carribean.
  • Feb 26th – Follow the February 1998 Total Solar Eclipse LIVE!
  • Feb 27th – Canada to build new Earth observational satellites, for launch in 2001.
  • Feb 28th – Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle perihelion (0.977 AU).
  • Feb 28th – Mars 0.7 ° North of Moon.
  • Feb 28th – LAS Star Party Weekend at Croxteth Park and Hall.(ends March 1st).*Friday Feb 27th Cancelled*


Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service.
To make your own star chart fo your location at any time, Click Here.

The Sun and Moon

All times are in GMT the same as U.T. Times For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.

          31st Jan     5th Feb      10th      15th      20th      25th      2nd Mar
SUNRISE    07:59        07:50      07:41     07:31     07:20     07:09       06:58
SUNSET     16:53        17:03      17:13     17:23     17:32     17:42       17:52
on 26th
at 17h:27m
on 3rd
at 22h:54m
on 11th
at 10h:24m
on 19th
at 15h:28m



Mercury is at superior conjunction on the 22nd an will therefore be out of view.


Venus shows nicely in the South East, rising at 05:09 on the 20th – over two hours before Sunrise. On the 23rd Venus is 2.5° North of the Moon.


Mars is now in Aquarius and on the 9th lies a mere 31′ South of the naked eye star Lambda Aquarii Soon the red planet will be lost in the evening twilight and its 4.2″ diameter disk makes it a poor telescopic object.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


Pallas is in conjunction with the Sun on the 14th.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter is at solar conjunction on the 23rd, and will reappear in a dark morning sky in April.

Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.


Saturn sets at 21:15 at the end of the month and so makes a fine evening object in the constellation of Pisces. On the 1st Saturn is 1° North of Moon.


Both outer planets are moving out Solar conjunction this month, and are unfavorable for observations at this time.


Pluto will be out of view until the end of March.


February 3rd and 13th Alpha Aurigids ZHR is 12 per hour. (Unfavourable)





  • Feb 5th at 14h:00m Disappearnace of Theta 1 and Theta 2 Tauri – DAYLIGHT.
  • Feb 13th at 03h:04m Reappearance of 56 Leonis .
  • Feb 19th at 03h:59m Reappearance of Gamma Librae.