|31st January 2013||5th February 2013||10th February 2013||15th February 2013||20th February 2013||25th February 2013||2nd March 2013|
|Sunrise||07:59 UTC||07:50 UTC||07:40 UTC||07:30 UTC||07:20 UTC||07:09 UTC||06:57 UTC|
|Sunset||16:52 UTC||17:03 UTC||17:13 UTC||17:23 UTC||17:33 UTC||17:42 UTC||17:52 UTC|
|Last Quarter||New Moon||First Quarter||Full Moon||Last Quarter|
|Date||3rd February 2013||10th February 2013||17th February 2013||25th February 2013||4th March 2013|
|Time||13:57 UTC||07:20 UTC||20:31 UTC||20:26 UTC||21:53 UTC|
The Moon will be close to Mercury and Mars for part of the month (see entry on Mercury below) and over the evenings of February 10th – 13th a very thin crescent moon will be visible nearby. On the 11th the Moon will lie approximately 4° North of Mercury, making it a useful guide to locating the planet in the sky.
February sees an evening apparition of Mercury in the Western sky just after Sunset, peaking between the 15th and 20th February. As indicated by the table below, Mars and the Moon will also be close by in the sky, and on 8th February, a conjunction occurs with Mars being within 15 arc-minutes (¼°) of Mercury.
|Date||Time (UTC)||ALTITUDE °||AZIMUTH °||ALTITUDE °||AZIMUTH °||ALTITUDE °||AZIMUTH °|
|February 5th 2013||17:43 UTC||3.7°||243°||6.0°||242°|
|February 10th 2013||17:52 UTC||7.0°||245°||5.3°||246°|
|February 11th 2013||17:54 UTC||7.6°||246°||5.2°||246°||11.0°||249°|
|February 12th 2013||17:56 UTC||8.1°||246°||5.0°||247°||21.2°||242°|
|February 15th 2013||18:01 UTC||9.3°||248°||4.6°||249°|
|February 20th 2013||18:10 UTC||9.3°||253°||3.9°||253°|
|February 25th 2013||18:19 UTC||5.8°||260°||3.0°||257°|
As noted above, Mars will be in conjunction with Mercury on February 8th, when they will be ¼° of each other. As the month progresses, Mars will be become more difficult to see as it approaches its Solar conjunction next month, and so will be lost in the glare of the Sun.
Jupiter is well placed, and can be easily spotted in the constellation of Taurus. On February 18th a conjunction will occur with the Moon (which is 1 day past 1st quarter) bringing the two objects about 1½° degrees apart.
Saturn begins the month rising at about 01:00 UTC, and ends it rising at 23:20 UTC, making observations easier than earlier in the year. Saturn reached Greatest Western Quadrature at the end of January, so the rings are open as viewed from Earth, and you may be able to see their shadow cast on to the planet’s atmosphere.
On February 15th, Near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 passes close to the Earth, with closest-approach at 19:26 UTC when it will be within geosynchronous orbit. It is not expected to achieve a brightness greater than about Mag. 7
More info: http://earthsky.org/space/asteroid-2012-da14-will-pass-very-close-to-earth-in-2013
Comet C/2011 L4 (Pan-STARRS) is not currently visible in the Northern Hemisphere but should be observable in March.
|Name of Shower||Date of Peak||Notes|
|Alpha-Aurigid||6th-9th February 2013||New Moon occurs on the 10th February 2013, aiding observation.|
|Date||Time||Event||Object Occulted||Occulted by|
|23rd February 2013||22:54 UTC||Disappearance||60-Cancri||The Moon|