Dr Nick Lomb, Sydney Observatory Curator of Astronomy tells us that February is a good month to see the constellations of the Southern Cross, Orion and Gemini.
Planets visible in February include Saturn and Venus. Through a small telescope you can see the rings and disk of Saturn – a particularly spectacular sight in the north-east sky just to the left or west of Regulus. Venus can be seen in February, shortly after dark in western sky.
On 7 February, Uranus can be seen through a telescope or binoculars less than two Moon widths away from Venus. It is too faint to be seen with the unaided eye – but Venus provides a pointer to help you find this usually difficult to find and see planet.
On 19 February, a beautiful sight to look out for in the night sky is the thin crescent Moon just below and to the left of Venus.
Nick tells you how and where to find these planets, stars and constellations, and also gives a host of other interesting astronomical information. For example, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo (the Lion) is Regulus (Little King), which is 77 light years away from us. Regulus has a companion star which in 1867 was found to be a double star. So Regulus is known as a triple star. The companion double star is believed to take more than 130,000 years to orbit Regulus.
The night sky map (reached from the link below) shows the stars, constellations and planets visible in the night sky from Sydney, Australia, and will also be usable at any other place in Australia. Special directions are given to help you locate the Southern Cross, also called Crux, for any time of the year. The locations of two nearby galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), are also given. Each month’s chart is placed online at the end of the previous month.
The monthly star maps are provided as PDF or portable document format files. To view PDF star charts you will need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader if it’s not on your computer already.
Read the transcript.