February 1st: Day 32 of the gregorian calendar.
History:. In 1999, 19th flyby of the probe Galileo near Europa.
In 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia desintegrates during its entrance in the atmopheres killing the seven astronauts aboard: Rick D. Husband, William C. McCool, Michael P. Anderson, Ilan Ramon, Kalpana Chawla, David M. Brown e Laurel Clark.
Observations: Mercury is 4ºS from the Moon.
Since we are almost at New Moon now is the time to make the observations o M1 suggested on the the Advanced Astronomical Observations Section.
February 2nd: Day 33 of the gregorian calendar.
History:. In 1964, the america probe Ranger 4 arrived to the Moon.
Observations: At nightfall and early evening, people at mid-northern latitudes see the famous Belt of Orion. In Orion constellation lies one of the most famous stars of the sky, ruddy-hued Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse is a red supergiant, and one of the largest and most luminous stars known. For comparison, if it was at the center of our solar system its surface might extend out to between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, wholly engulfing Mercury, Venus, the Earth and Mars. Kids like Betelgeuse, because its name sounds so much like “beetle juice.” Try to see it from your home's sky.
February 3rd: Day 34 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1984, Space Shuttle program: STS-41-B Mission is launched to International Space Station
Observations: New Moon at 02h31 (UTC). Still good to try to observe M1.
February 4th: Day 35 of the gregorian calendar.
History:. In 1906, birth of Clyde Tombaugh, famous for the discovery of Pluto, in 1930. He also discovered many asteroids.
In 1932 the asteroid 1239 Queteleta was discovered by Eugène Joseph Delporte.
In 1934 the asteroid 2824 Francke was discovered by Karl Wilhelm Reinmuth.
Observations: Mars is in conjuncion wih he Sun a 17h (UC).
Two nights ago we suggested Betelgeuse. Orion’s two brightest stars – Betelgeuse and Rigel – lodge at an equal distance above and below Orion’s Belt. So tonight try to look at Rigel that is 775 light-years away. If Rigel was at the same distance as the Sun it would be 40 000 times brighter.
February 5th: Day 36 of the gregorian calendar.
History:. In 1971, Apollo 14 landed on the Moon, in the Fra Mauro formation.
Observations:. The waxing crescen Moon is getting closer to Jupiter in wesen sky at dusk.
February 6th: Day 37 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1959, the first ballistic missile Titan was launched from Cape Canaveral.
Observations: Moon is at apogee at 23h(UTC). Moon and Jupiter are very close to each other.
February 7th: Day 38 of the gregorian calendar.
History:. In 1979, Pluto "moved" to an orbital position closer to the Sun than Neptune for the first time after its discovery.
In 1984, the astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first space walk using the Manned Manouver Unit during the mission STS-41-B of the Space Shuttle program.
In 1991, Salyut 7 desintegrates in the atmosphere above Argentina.
In 2001, mission STS-98, of the Space Shuttle Atlantis is launched, transporting the "Destiny" module of the International Space Station (ISS). The launch at sunset is considered by many as one of the most beautiful launches that was ever made.
Observations:. Uranus 6ºS from the Moon. Jupiter 7ºS from he Moon.
February 8th: Day 39 of the gregorian calendar.
History:. In 1974, after 84 days in Space, the crew of the first american Space Station, Skylab, returns to Earth.
In 1994, initial flight of the CZ-3A (China).
Observations: Tonight try to find the Double Cluster in Perseus, near Cassiopeia.
February 9th: Day 40 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1986, comet Halley returned for its periodic visit after a 76 year absence.
Observations: The moon’s disk is nearly 40% illuminated by sunshine and 60% engulfed in its own shadow. Tonight, the moon shines near the three brightest stars of the constellation Aries: Hamal, Sheratan, and Mesarthim.
February 10th: Day 41 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1992, the Ulysses probe uses Jupiter's gravity to slingshot to explore the Sun's poles.
Observations: Use this night to find Cassiopeia with the help of Stellarium or a planisphere.At this time of year – and at this time of night – this constellation has the shape of the letter M, and you might imagine the Queen reclining on her starry throne. But, at other times of year or night, Cassiopeia’s Chair dips below the celestial pole. And then this constellation appears to us on Earth more in the shape of a W.
February 11th: Day 42 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1997, Space Shuttle Discovery was launched with the mission to repair Hubble Space Telescope .
Observations: The Moon is at First Quarter at 07h18min(UTC).
February 12th: Day 43 of the gregorian calendar.
History:. In 2001, the probe NEAR Shoemaker became the first human spacecraft to land on an asteroid, the 433 Eros.
Observations: You have been looking around the Orion constellation. Have you found the star Capella yet?
February 13th: Day 44 of the gregorian calendar.
History:. Johan Ludwig Emil Dreyer, the man that compiled the New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (NGC), was born on this date in 1852.
In 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived to Rome to be judged by the Inquisition.
In 2004, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics claims the discovery of the biggest diamond of the known Universe, the white dwarf BPM 37093.
Observations:The waxing gibbous moon is in the inside of the Winter Circle – an asterism sometimes called the Winter Hexagon (see bellow)– an incredibly large star configuration made of six brilliant winter stars of many different colours.
February 14th: Day 45 of the gregorian calendar.
Happy Valentine's Day.
History: In 1747, astronomer James Bradley presented his evidence of Earth’s wobble, called nutation.
In 1898, Fritz Zwick, was born. He was the first astronomer to identify supernovas as a different class of objects and to suggest the possibility of neutron stars' existence.
In 1990, Voyager 1's cameras pointed to the Sun and took a series of images of the stars and its planets making the first "portrait" of our Solar System from outside.
In 2000, the probe NEAR becomes the first to orbit an asteroid, the 433 Eros.
Observations: The movie "Face Off" with Nicholas Cage and John Travolta had a great inspiration in Astronomy. In the two bad brothers where Pollux Troy and Castor Troy. Do you have any idea where those names came from? Try to find out tonight where the stars that inspired those names are.
February 15th: Day 46 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1564, Galileo Galilei, was born. He was the first to use the telescope to observe space.
In 1828, Jules Verne was born.
During his life he wrote 54 science fiction related books.
In 1999, the IKONOS 2 Athena 2was launched.
February 16th: Day 47 of the gregorian calendar.
History: Birth, in 1786, of Francois Arago who was an early
and enthusiastic supporter of the wave theory of lightand in 1811 invented the polariscope to study polarization.
In 1926, the rocket launched by Robert H. Goddard becomes the first working on liquid fuel.
In 1966 the Gemini 8 was launched.
In 1999, the team of the Lunar Prospector at the NASA Ames Research Center announces discoveries that confirm that the Moon's mass is in its majority provenient of material ejected from Earth during a past impact with an object about the size of Mars.
Observations: In celebration of Arago's birth, why not go out and have a look at Merope in the Pleiades. As you observe Merope keep in mind that its light
doesn't begin polarized. As it passes through the Merope Nebula, it becomes
filtered. Try using a polarized filter and compare the view without.
February 17th: Day 48 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1958 the first probe working on solar energy, the Vanguard 1, was launched.
Observations: Neptune is in Conjunction with the Sun at 10h (UTC).
February 18th: Day 49 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1930, while analyzing photographic plates made in January, Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto. At the time it was dubbed the ninth planet until 2006, when it was included in the dwarf planet category.
In 1977, the Space Shuttle Enterprise is launched from the back of a Boeing 747.
In 2001, astronomers saw first light of one of the most ancient structures in the Universe: quasar RD J030117+002025 in the Whale constellation; the quasar lies at 13 thousand million light-years from us, which means it is seen at a time when the Universe had only 8% of its present age.
In 2003, comet C/2002 V1 (NEAT) at perihelion, is seen by SOHO.
Observations: Full Moon at 08h36 (UTC).
February 19th: Day 50 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1473, the founder of the heliocentric system, Nicolas Copernic was born.
In 1924, Edwin Hubble writes to Harlow Shapley: "You might be interested to know that I have found a cepheid variable in the Andromeda Nebula" (now known as Andromeda Galaxy).
In 1986, the Soviet Union launches Space Station Mir.
In 2002, the Mars Odyssey probe started to map the surface of Mars.
Observations: Moon is at Perigee at 07h00(UTC).
February 20th: Day 51 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1962, the astronaut John Glenn, on Friendship 7, orbits Earth 3 times as part of the Mercury Program.
In 1965, Ranger 8 probe crashes on the Moon after making pictures of places for the landing of the Apollo missions.
Observations: After Moonless sunsets in February and March one has the best opportunities of year to see zodiacal light in the evening sky. The light appears when all traces of twilight have left the sky. It looks like a hazy pyramid of light in the west after true darkness falls.
February 21st: Day 52 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1901 the first Nova of the 20th century was seen.
The amateur astronomer T. D. Anderson was its first observer of the Nova.
In 1972, the russian probe Luna 20 lands on the Moon.
Observations: Saturn is 8ºN from the Moon at 17h (UTC).
February 22nd: Day 53 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1632 Galileo's o "Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo" was published .
In 1799, F.W.A. Argelander was born.
Organizer of star catalogues, he studied variable stars and created the first astronomical international organization named the Astronomische Gesellschaft.
In 1995, the cosmonaut Valeryiv Polyakov returns to Earth after breaking the record on Mir space station : 438 days.
In 1995, the asteroid 1995CR passes at 7.2 million kilometers from Earth.
In 1996, the mission STS-76 of the Space Shuttle Atlantis was launched.
Observations: Aldebaran and Betelgeuse seem a bit different from the rest of the stars in their surrounding, though they are not exactly the same color. Why?
February 23rd: Day 54 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1950, discovery of the asteroid (29075) 1950 DA.
In 1987, the supernova of the Large Magellanic Cloud becomes visible in naked eye as a result of the explosion of the blue supergiant Sanduleak 69. Known as SN1987A, it was the "closest" supernova in the last three centuries.
In 1999, conjunction of Jupiter with Venus.
February 24th: Day 55 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1968 the first pulsar, discovery is announced on Nature by Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Hewish and Ryle co-directors of the project received Physics Nobel Prize in 1974, for explaining the observations with a model of a rotating neutron star.
In 1969 the american probe Mariner 6 was launched.
In 1979, launch of the Solwind P78-1 probe.
In 1996 the Polar probe was launched to study Earth's poles.
Observations: The Moon reaches Last Quarter at 23h26 (UTC).
February 25th: Day 56 of the gregorian calendar.
Observations: Mercury in Superior Conjunction at 09h00 (UTC).
February 26th: Day 57 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1966, the first rocket Saturn IB, the AS-201, of the Apollo program was launched
Observations: Occultation of Lutetia not seen from Europe.
February 27th: Day 58 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 1897, Bernard Lyot, inventor of the coronograph was born.
February 28th: Day 59 of the gregorian calendar.
History: In 2007, the probe New Horizons, passes by Jupiter on its way to Pluto.
Observations: Occultation of Vesta not seen from Europe. Vesta will be about 1ºN from the Moon at 0h (UTC) when seen from Europe.