2021, February 26-28: Bright Moon, Leo

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2021, February 26-28: Look to the western sky before sunrise for the bright moon with Leo.

February 26-28, 2021:  The bright moon appears with the stars of Leo at month’s end.

by Jeffrey L. Hunt

The bright moon appears with the stars of Leo during the final three days of the month.  The chart above shows the moon with the stars in the morning.  Since the lunar orb is opposite the sun, it is in the sky for most of the night.  They are in the eastern sky after sunset.

The moon reaches its Full phase (Snow Moon) at 2:17 a.m. CST on February 27.

Leo is a constellation that somewhat resembles its namesake.  A backwards question mark represents theLlion’s head.  We see a side-view of the westward facing big cat.  The question mark shape is also known as the “Sickle of Leo,” a farmer’s harvesting tool.

A triangle marks the haunches and tail of the Lion.  Denebola is the tail.

With the bright moon in near these stars, block the moon’s light (with your hand as you would to the sun) to see the starfield.

Here’s what to look for in the morning about an hour before sunrise:

February 26: The nearly full moon is low in the western sky.  It is 5.1° to the right of Regulus, the constellation’s brightest star.

February 27: The moon reaches its Full phase at 2:17 a.m. CST.  As the morning sky brightens, the moon is about 15° up in the west. The lunar orb is between Regulus and Denebola, but below a line that connects the two stars. 

February 28: One hour before sunrise the very bright moon – over 20° in altitude in the west-southwest – is 8.6° to the lower left of Denebola.

Here’s more about Mars during 2021 and about Mars during February.

Read more about the planets during February.

2021, May 28: Close Venus – Mercury Conjunction

May 28, 2021:  This evening Mercury passes brilliant Venus for the second of three conjunctions during this evening apparition of the second planet from the sun.  Use a binocular about 45 minutes after sunset to see the speedy planet 0.4° to the lower left of Venus.  This is the closest visible conjunction until 2033.

2021, May 24: Planets in a Plane

May 24, 2021: Morning planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise.  In the evening sky, brilliant Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars line up along the solar system’s plane.  The bright moon is in the southeast near Zubenelgenubi, “the southern claw.”

2021, May 23: Planet Parade Marches On

May 23, 2021:  Five bright planets parade across the sky.  Jupiter and Saturn are visible before sunrise in the southeastern sky.  The star Fomalhaut is becoming visible below bright Jupiter and near the horizon.   After sundown, Evening Star Venus, Mercury, and Mars are in the western sky.  The bright moon is in the southeastern sky during the nighttime hours.

2021, May 22: Parading Five Planets

May 22, 2021: Five planets parade across the sky.  Jupiter and Saturn are in the southeast before sunrise. Evening Star Venus, Mercury and Mars are in the western sky after sunset.  A bright moon is in the southeastern sky.

2021, May 21: Evening Planet Ballet

May 21, 2021: Three bright planets are dancing in the western sky after sundown.  Evening Star Venus is entering the sky for a months-long residency after its solar conjunction two months ago.  Mercury is heading for a conjunction with Venus after its best evening appearance of the year.  Mars continues its eastward march in Gemini, but time is running out on its appearance as it approaches brighter evening twilight and a conjunction with Venus.



Categories: Astronomy, Sky Watching

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