#astronomy The Evening Sky in February 2021 – Astronotes

January 21, 2021 - Comment

It’s the shortest month of the yr, though some could argue that it may really feel simply so long as January. We’re nonetheless seeing the winter constellations within the night time sky, and hopefully we’ll get some good clear nights to go stargazing. Bear in mind it is advisable to wrap up heat if you end up stargazing,

It’s the shortest month of the yr, though some could argue that it may really feel simply so long as January. We’re nonetheless seeing the winter constellations within the night time sky, and hopefully we’ll get some good clear nights to go stargazing. Bear in mind it is advisable to wrap up heat if you end up stargazing, and it may by no means harm to have a sizzling drink with you. Our suggestion? Sizzling chocolate after all! 

By way of seen spectacles this month, sadly we don’t have a meteor bathe, however we do have some passes of the Worldwide Area Station. From 21st February to 28th February, the ISS will probably be seen within the early morning, so that is good for all you early risers. Once we say early, we imply early. On 25th February it is going to be seen at 5:00am within the south east, and fortunately that is the earliest time. The opposite instances are slightly later, going from 5:45am to six:30am. The ISS will appear to be a vivid shifting gentle shifting from one aspect of the sky to the opposite. Give it a wave and benefit from the sight if you’re awake to see it. For extra info on viewing the ISS, take a look at www.heavens-above.com. 

The ISS: an area labratory! It strikes slowly throughout our skies. Credit score: NASA

Arguably a very powerful day of February is the 14th. If you’re unsure what today is, it’s Valentines Day!  

We’d not be capable to rejoice Valentine’s Day in the identical means this yr, and so why not select an evening of stargazing along with your important different as a distinct approach to rejoice your love. We’re all manufactured from star stuff in spite of everything! 

What issues must you look out for to impress your SO? Listed below are what we’d suggest for you: 


This crimson supergiant is usually known as the Valentine’s Day Star, and is situated within the shoulder of Orion the Hunter.  

Why does it get this title? Betelgeuse pulsates in measurement, increasing outward between the measurement’s of Mar’s orbit and Jupiter’s orbit. To us, it appears prefer it will increase and reduces in brightness within the night time sky. Some say it’s paying homage to a beating coronary heart. 

Image of BetelgeuseBetelgeuse burns brightly on this Hubble Area Telescope picture (Picture Credit score: NASA/ESA)

Betelgeuse is roughly 900 instances the dimensions of the Solar, and astronomers typically speak about how the star is nearing the tip of its life and could possibly be able to go on to its subsequent stage. This may be a big supernova that will be seen even within the daytime sky. This might occur any time inside the subsequent 100,000 years, which is a relevantly quick time by way of Outer Area.  

“Watch out for the giants”: Maybe Orion ought to grasp a placard round his neck bearing this legend for the unsuspecting stargazer, as a brood of them reside within the hunter’s celestial area. Standing maybe most noticeably amongst these stellar monsters or blue supergiant stars is a really vivid Solar-dwarfing blue-white supergiant star known as Rigel highlighting the hunter’s left foot, and the nonetheless bigger Betelgeuse or “large’s armpit”, a 900-Solar-diameter crimson supergiant star (within the goal), which marks the bottom of Orion’s club-wielding arm.
Credit score: Cropped picture: ESO, P. Kervella, Digitized Sky Survey 2 and A. Fujii


This blue-white star within the foot of Orion the Hunter, shouldn’t be only one star, it’s a system of a minimum of 4 stars. Rigel is the title for the primary element of this system, and it’s roughly 860 light-years away from the Earth.  

The three vivid stars marking Orion’s belt and Betelgeuse and Rigel is definitely seen within the sky. Credit score: Stellarium/Ria Mee/Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

As a consequence of its stellar wins, Rigel’s mass-loss is estimated to be ten million instances that of the Solar. It’s a pretty younger star, at an estimated seven to 9 million years outdated (which is virtually a toddler by way of Area.) It has exhausted its core of hydrogen gas and expanded and cooled right into a supergiant. It’s anticipated to finish its life in a supernova that might result in a neutron star or blackhole.  

Now that you’ve all of this spectacular info on Rigel, be sure you apply it to your important different, and actually impress them with information on this diamond within the sky.  


Talking of diamonds within the sky, Sirius the Canine Star is the brightest star within the night time sky, interval. Lots of people assume the North Star is the brightest, however in actuality, Sirius holds the title.  

Image of_SiriusSirius blazing within the February sky startles many with its brightness (Picture credit score: NASA/ESA)

Like lots of the stars we see within the night time sky, Sirius is in a binary system with one other, smaller star. Often called Sirius A and Sirius B, the second star wasn’t identified about till telescopes began to enhance within the 1800s. Sirius B, affectionately often known as “the Pup,” was first noticed in 1862, and in 2005 the Hubble Area Telescope was capable of seize a picture of the 2 stars collectively. Despite the fact that Sirius B is significantly smaller than Sirius A, it’s nonetheless one of many largest white dwarf stars identified and is roughly the dimensions of the Earth.  

A view from Sirius: This exceptionally detailed artist’s impression reveals the ‘double star’ or binary system encapsulated inside the single object picture seen from Earth. The place blue equals hotter, Sirius A, the star whose Greek title means “scorched” is about 20 instances brighter than our Solar, however its companion, Sirius B, a smaller-than-Earth ember of a lifeless star, (or white dwarf) pictured proper, has a floor temperature of round 19 000 levels Centigrade hotter than the star on the centre of our Photo voltaic System and about 400 000 instances Earth’s gravity.
Credit score: NASA, ESA/G. Bacon (STScl)

The Snow Moon

The total moon this month is one you’ll have to attend for! It seems for us on the 27th of February and its particular title is the “Snow Moon”. Why? It happens on the time of yr when the snow is at its deepest. It’s additionally known as the “Starvation Moon” as meals can be at its scarcest for harvesting.

Lovely picture of the Full Moon. Credit score: NASA

We hope you get pleasure from gazing on the night time sky this month. We encourage you to get on the market and take as many pictures as you’ll be able to. The extra pictures the higher! You would possibly nonetheless be capable to see the odd meteor in case you are out at night time for longer than 30 minutes, as meteors are continually hitting the Earth, and you’ll at all times depend on the Moon to brighten up your night time.  

Joyful Stargazing! 

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