February 19-21: The bright moon moves through the constellation Taurus. Use a binocular to see the starry background with the moon.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
During latter February, the bright moon is visible in front of the stars of Taurus. A binocular helps to identify the starry background as the moon waxes in its gibbous phase.
Aldebaran is the brightest star in the constellation. Notice that with the check-mark shape of the Hyades, the star forms a “V” to represent the head of Taurus. The Pleaides star cluster rides on the Bull’s back. Zeta Tauri (ζ Tau on the chart) and Elnath represent creature’s horns.
Here’s what to look for:
- February 19: The moon is at its First Quarter phase at 12:47 p.m. CST. One hour after sunset, the moon, 52% illuminated, is high in the south-southwest. It is nearly between Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus, and Alcyone, in the Pleiades. The moon is below an imaginary line that extends between the stars, 7.2° to the upper right of Aldebaran and 6.6° to the lower left of Alcyone.
- February 20: Look for the gibbous moon (62% illuminated) high in the south-southeast at about an hour after sunset. The lunar orb is 7.9° to the upper left of Aldebaran and 9.1° to the right of Zeta Tauri, the Southern Horn of Taurus.
- February 21: One hour after sunset, the moon – 71% illuminated – is high in the southeastern sky. It is 4.4° to the upper left of ζ Tau.
Read more about the planets during February.
October 8, 2021: The crescent moon approaches Venus in the western sky this evening, leading up to tomorrow’s close grouping of Venus, the crescent moon, and the three stars of the Scorpion’s head.
October 7, 2021: The lunar crescent returns to the evening sky for a short visit in the western sky after sunset. The bright planet pack – Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible during the early evening.
Mars is at its solar conjunction on October 7, 2021. It begins a slow return into the morning sky. By year’s end it appears low in the southeastern sky with the moon.
October 6, 2021: The moon is at its New moon phase today. This evening look for the three bright planets after sunset.
October 5, 2021: Before sunrise, a very thin moon is visible in the eastern sky. The evening planet pack – Evening Star Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn – are visible at the same time after sundown.