Society News and Night Sky Notes – February 2001

Society News Headlines

  • 1st Feb – LAS Astronomy Evening for School Teachers at Edge Hill College Ormskirk 7:30pm – 9:30pm.
  • 2nd Feb – Moon 2° South of Saturn.
  • 2nd Feb – LAS Pex Hill Public Open Night 7:30pm – 9:30pm.
  • 2nd Feb – ASTROFEST 2001 Weekend at Kensington & Chelsea Town Hall, London. (Ends Feb 3rd)
  • 2nd Feb – Moon 3° South of Jupiter.
  • 3rd Feb – 35th Anniversary (1966) Luna9 landing on Moon. (1st unmanned soft landing).
  • 7th Feb – Comet Mueller 4 at Perihelion (2.647AU).
  • 9th Feb – Uranus in conjunction with the Sun.
  • 13th Feb – Mercury at Inferior Conjunction with Sun.
  • 14th Feb – NEAR spacecraft landing on Eros – End of Mission.
  • 15th Feb – Mars 3° South of Moon.
  • 16th Feb – LAS Monthly Meeting at RC Cathedral Crypt Concert Room.
  • 18th Feb – Ceres 0.5° South of Moon.
  • 19th Feb – Comet Reinmuth 2 at Perihelion (1.890AU).
  • 19th Feb – 15th Anniversary (1986) of Russian MIR Space Station launch.
  • 21st Feb – Moon 6° South of Mercury.
  • 22nd Feb – Venus at Greatest Brilliance Mag -4.6
  • 24th Feb – Vesta is 0.2° South of Moon.
  • 24th Feb – Mercury is stationary.
  • 24th Feb – BAA Ordinary Meeting at the Scientific Societies Lecture Theatre,London at 5pm.
  • 25th Feb – Comet Spitaler at Perihelion (2.127AU).
  • 25th Feb – Juno is 1° North of Moon.
  • 26th Feb – Moon 10° South of Saturn.
  • 27th Feb – Comet Kohoutek at Perihelion (1.787AU).
  • 27th Feb – Planned deorbit of Russian Space station MIR.


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 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) 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 2nd
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 23rd
at 08h:22m
on 1st
at 14h:03m
on 8th
at 07h:13m
on 15th
at 03h:25m

On the 7th the Moon is at minimum perigee (closest to the Earth) this year for 2001 at a distance of 356,852km.



Mercury is at inferior conjunction on the 13th and is therefore unobservable.


Info Sheet: Venus in the Evening Sky, January - March 2001

Info Sheet: Venus in the Evening Sky, January – March 2001

Venus is still obvious in the evening sky just south of west half an hour after Sunset. By the end of the month its altitude drops slowly and soon it will be lost in the glare of the Sun. It reaches its greatest brilliancy on Feb 22nd at Mag -4.6 Before it does so the crescent Moon lies a wide 11° south of Venus at 17hrs on the 26th.


Mars is still a morning object rising at 02:00 at the end of the month and has moved from Libra into Scorpius, lying a mere 3′ south of the bright star beta Scorpii. On the 15th at 13h the Moon passes 1.5° north of Mars.


  • 1 Ceres is in Sgr at Mag 9.1. It is close to Moon on 18th February.
  • 2 Pallas is in Ser/Oph/Her border at Mag 9.7.
  • 3 Juno is in Aqr at Mag 9.9. It is close to Moon on 25th February.(No Opposition this year)
  • 4 Vesta is in Cap/Aqr border at Mag 8.1. It is close to the Moon on 24th February.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter is still riding high in the evening sky. At the start of the month Jupiter is moving in retrograde motion i.e. east to west against the background stars of Taurus. Around mid-February it halts its respective motion in Right Ascension and at the end of the month it will return to its prograde – west to east – apparent motion. Jupiter eventually passes from Taurus into Gemini by August. The Moon is 3.5° south of Jupiter on the 2nd.

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, Please see Jupiter text above, but Saturn moves with Jupiter as indicated. Saturn’s ring tilt of 23° means that its Southern hemisphere is presented towards us. Saturn, unlike Jupiter remains in Taurus for the whole of 2001. On the 2nd at 10hrs the Moon passes 3° South of the ringed planet.


Uranus and Neptune are both close to Solar conjunction, (Uranus on Feb 9th). It will be May when both planets begin to improve and become observable.


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


  • February 6th – 9th Alpha Aurigids ZHR is 12 per hour. ( UnFavourable) Full Moon on 8th.


  • Comet McNaught-Hartley (link removed as URL is invalid) in Hercules during February.
  • February 7th: Comet Mueller 4 at Perihelion (2.647AU).
  • February 19th: Comet Reinmuth 2 at Perihelion (1.890AU).
  • February 25th: Comet Spiter at Perihelion (2.127AU).
  • February 27th: Comet Kohoutek at Perihelion (1.787AU).

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


There are no occultations of bright stars during February.