Society News and Night Sky Notes – February 2000

Society News Headlines

  • 1st Feb – Vesta is 0.4° North of Moon.
  • 1st Feb – Moon at Apogee.
  • 2nd Feb – Venus is 1.4° South of Moon.
  • 4th Feb – Two Day EUROPEAN ASTROFEST 2000.(Ends Feb 5th).
  • 4th Feb – Public Open Night at LAS Pex Hill Observatory 7:30pm – 9:30pm.
  • 5th Feb – Partial Eclipse of the Sun – Not seen from UK.
  • 5th Feb – Comet Shoemaker-Levy 2 at Perhelion (1.869 AU).
  • 6th Feb – Mercury 1.8° North of Moon.
  • 8th Feb – Mars 4° North of Moon.
  • 10th Feb – Ceres stationary.
  • 11th Feb – Jupiter 4° North of Moon.
  • 11th Feb – Members Night Meeting LAS Pex Hill Observatory, Cronton, Cheshire. 7:30pm – Late.
  • 12th Feb – Saturn 3° North of Moon.
  • 12th Feb – LAS Star Party Weekend at Croxteth Hall & Park.(Ends 13th Feb). (link removed as URL is invalid)
  • 12th Feb – BAA Solar Section Meeting – The Assembly Rooms, North Street, Chichester at 10:30am.
  • 12th Feb – LAS sidewalk astronomers event at Wepre Country Park, Connah’s Quay, North Wales.
  • 14th Feb – Aldebaran is 1.2° South of Moon.
  • 14th Feb – NEAR spacecraft reaches orbit around Asteroid Eros.
  • 15th Feb – Mercury: Greatest elongation from Sun 18° East.(Evening Sky).
  • 17th Feb – Moon at Perigee.
  • 18th Feb – 70th Anniversary (1930) of Clyde Tombough’s discovery of the planet Pluto.
  • 18th Feb – LAS Monthly meeting, Crypt Concert Room, RC Catheral at 7pm.
  • 19th Feb – Meeting of NWGAS Reps Hosted by Salford A.S. 11am – 2pm.
  • 20th Feb – Mercury stationary.
  • 22nd Feb – Venus 0.5° South of Neptune.
  • 26th Feb – Pallas stationary.
  • 26th Feb – BAA Meeting Savile Row, London at 2:30 – 5:30pm.
  • 27th Feb – Comet C/1999 K3 (Linear) at Perihelion (1.929).
  • 28th Feb – Moon at Apogee.


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.

           Jan 31st      5th        10th      15th      20th      25th       Mar 1st
SUNRISE    08:00        07:51      07:42     07:32     07:22     07:11       06:59
SUNSET     16:52        17:01      17:11     17:21     17:31     17:41       17:50
on 5th
at 13hr:03m
on 12th
at 23hr:21m
on 19th
at 16hr:26m
on 27th
at 03hr:53m



Planets visible in the early evening sky, February 2000

Planets visible in the early evening sky, February 2000

As was mentioned last month Mercury sees an evening apparition stretching to 18° away from the Sun on the 15th. This Table show where to look using the Moon as a guide early on in the apparition.


Venus is a poor morning object now, clinging to the South Eastern horizon just before the Sun rises.


Mars sets before 21:00hrs throughout February. A mere 4.4 arcseconds arcseconds across in the middle of the month the red planet is a poor telescopic object and its only close apparent approach to another celestial body is on the 8th when the Moon passes 4° South at 19:00hr.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


  • Vesta is 0.4° North of Moon on Feb 1st.
  • Ceres is stationary on Feb 10th, and Pallas on Feb 26th.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter is a little more favourable than Mars, showing a disk well over 35 arcseconds across and transiting just after 17:oohrs at the start of the month and setting at 22:45hrs at the end. On the 11th (at 05:00hrs) Jupiter lies 5° North of the Moon.

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, at only 18 arcseconds across, shows less disk detail than its more illustrious neighbour but its ring system, tilted at 19° to the ecliptic, more than makes up for any blandness. Saturn isn’t always quiescent; look carefully at the disk using a high magnification. If the seeing is good i.e. when the air is still enough then at least one pastel-shaded band may be seen and occasionally a `white storm’ blows up which is quite evident.


Uranus is at Solar conjunction on the 6th, whilst Neptune is only just starting to recover from its Solar conjunction late last month. It will be May when both planets begin to improve sky locations.


Pluto will be out of view until after April in morning skies.


  • February 6th – 9th Alpha Aurigids ZHR is 12 per hour. ( Favourable) New Moon on 5th, radiant high up.


  • February 5th Comet Showmaker-Levy 2 at Perihelion (1.869AU).
  • February 27th Comet C/1993 K3 (Linear) at Perihelion (1.929AU).
  • Comet C/1994 S4 (Linear) is slowly brightening.Could be a naked eye object in July.

Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.


  • Feb 16th at 00hr:15m Disappearance of Nu Geminorum (Mag 4.1)
  • Feb 16th at 19hr:27m Disappearance of 56 Geminorum (Mag 5.1).