The Astronomical Events of February 2024

Despite its brief length, February offers an impressive spectacle in the night sky. Amid the winter's peak, our guide will lead you through the icy, star-studded nights.

As Earth only just started another rotation around our Sun, the heavens continually offer a dazzling display of celestial wonders. February 2024 is no exception.

So, grab your telescopes, mark your calendars, and let’s embark on this astral adventure together.

Please note this skywatching guide is mostly for the northern hemisphere. If you live in the south, I recommend this guide: Guide to the Night Sky Southern Hemisphere (aff link)

Astronomical Highlights

February 1, 01:04 – Spica 1.7°S of Moon

On this date and time, the bright star Spica will appear about 1.7 degrees south of the Moon in the night sky. Spica is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo and forms a prominent celestial pair with the planet Jupiter. This conjunction between the Moon and Spica will create a beautiful celestial sight for stargazers.

February 2, 11:00 – Mercury at Aphelion

Aphelion is the point in Mercury’s orbit where it is farthest from the Sun. On this date, Mercury will reach its aphelion, and it will be at its maximum distance from the Sun. This event has an impact on Mercury’s orbital speed, which is slower at aphelion than at perihelion (the closest point to the Sun).

February 2, 17:18 – Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon is the third and final quarter phase of the Moon during its monthly cycle. At this point, the Moon appears half-illuminated, with the left half visible from the Northern Hemisphere and the right half visible from the Southern Hemisphere.

February 4, 18:15 – Antares 0.6°S of Moon

Antares, a red supergiant star in the constellation Scorpius, will be located about 0.6 degrees south of the Moon on this date and time. The bright reddish hue of Antares makes it easily distinguishable from other stars in the night sky.

February 8, 00:30 – Mars 4.2°N of Moon

The red planet Mars will be positioned about 4.2 degrees north of the Moon on this date and time. Observers will be able to see the Moon and Mars in close proximity, making for a striking celestial pairing.

February 8, 22:00 – The Alpha Centaurids meteor shower

The α-Centaurid meteor shower is a minor annual meteor shower that is active from January 28 to February 21 every year. Its peak is usually around February 8th. 

February 9, 16:59 – New Moon

The New Moon is the beginning of the lunar cycle when the Moon is not visible from Earth. It occurs when the Moon is positioned between the Earth and the Sun. Since the illuminated side of the Moon is facing away from us, the night sky will be especially dark, making it an excellent time for stargazing without moonlight interference.

February 10, 12:49 – Moon at Perigee: 358,088 km

Perigee is the point in the Moon’s orbit where it is closest to Earth. On this date, the Moon will be at its closest distance to our planet, approximately 358,088 kilometers away. This event is often referred to as a “Supermoon” when it coincides with a Full Moon.

February 10, 18:37 – Saturn 1.8°N of Moon

Saturn, the ringed planet, will be situated about 1.8 degrees north of the Moon on this date and time. Observers will have a chance to witness the Moon and Saturn appearing in close proximity in the night sky.

February 13, 11:01 – Moon at Ascending Node 

The Moon’s orbit is slightly tilted relative to the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. The ascending node is the point where the Moon’s path intersects with the ecliptic (the plane of Earth’s orbit), moving from the southern to the northern hemisphere.

February 15, 02:15 – Jupiter 3.2°S of Moon

Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, will be about 3.2 degrees south of the Moon on this date and time. It will be a wonderful sight to observe these two prominent celestial objects in the same part of the sky.

February 16, 09:01 – First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon marks the halfway point between the New Moon and the Full Moon. It appears as a half-illuminated Moon and is visible in the afternoon and evening sky.

February 16, 13:13 – Pleiades 0.6°N of Moon

The Pleiades, also known as the Seven Sisters or Messier 45, is a beautiful open star cluster in the constellation Taurus. On this date and time, the Pleiades will be located about 0.6 degrees north of the Moon, creating a stunning visual conjunction.

February 20, 18:54 – Pollux 1.6°N of Moon

Pollux, one of the brightest stars in the constellation Gemini, will be situated about 1.6 degrees north of the Moon on this date and time. The pairing of the Moon and Pollux will be an attractive sight in the night sky.

February 22, 03:00 – Venus 0.6°N of Mars

Venus and Mars will be in planetary conjunction on this date and time, with Venus appearing about 0.6 degrees north of Mars. Conjunctions occur when two celestial objects appear close together in the sky, creating an eye-catching event for observers.

February 23, 16:45 – Regulus 3.6°S of Moon 

Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo, will be located about 3.6 degrees south of the Moon on this date and time. Regulus is a blue-white star and is easily identifiable in the night sky.

February 24, 06:30 – Full Moon

The Full Moon is the lunar phase when the entire face of the Moon is illuminated by the Sun and appears as a bright, full disk in the night sky. It is a spectacular sight and often referred to by specific names in various cultures.

February 25, 09:00 – Moon at Apogee: 406,316 km

Apogee is the point in the Moon’s orbit where it is farthest from Earth. On this date, the Moon will be at its greatest distance from our planet, approximately 406,316 kilometers away.

February 27, 16:53 – Moon at Descending Node

Similar to the ascending node, the descending node is the point where the Moon’s path intersects with the ecliptic, moving from the northern to the southern hemisphere.

February 28, 02:00 – Mercury at Superior Conjunction

Superior conjunction occurs when Mercury is on the opposite side of the Sun as seen from Earth. During this event, Mercury is not visible from Earth’s vantage point, as it is lost in the Sun’s glare.

February 28, 07:40 – Spica 1.5°S of Moon

Spica, the bright star in the constellation Virgo, will be situated about 1.5 degrees south of the Moon on this date and time, providing a splendid celestial sight.

February 28, 15:00 – Saturn in Conjunction with Sun

Saturn will be in conjunction with the Sun on this date, which means it will be positioned close to the Sun in the sky

Note: Some astronomical events in this list were sourced from Sky Event Almanacs – Courtesy of Fred Espenak at

February Moon Phases

Here’s the chronology of the major lunar phases for the month:

Additionally, you may use my moon calculator to find out the phase for any day. 

My recommended lunar surface feature to observe this February

  1. Craters: The Moon’s surface is covered in craters, remnants of ancient meteor impacts. This month, try to find the Copernicus and Arzachel Craters

  2. Maria: These are the large, dark, basaltic plains on the Moon, formed by ancient volcanic eruptions. This month, try to find Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity) and Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains).

  3. Mountain Ranges: Lunar mountains, such as the Apennine Mountains, provide a rugged contrast to the Maria. They can be quite a sight, especially when the light casts long shadows over them during the First and Last Quarter phases. This month, try to find Montes Apenninus (Apennine Mountains) and Montes Taurus (Taurus Mountains).

Planetary Highlights

Mercury and Mars are not visible this month as they are too close to the Sun.

Venus is visible just before dawn for most of the month but toward the last week, it’ll get lost in the sun’s glare along with the other inferior planets.

Jupiter still remains the centrepiece of the night sky, shining at an average of about -2.5 of apparent magnitude and visible for most of the night. The moon gets really close to it on the 14th and 15th.

Saturn will be visible just before sunset until the 14th, after which it will be set too early for clear observation.

Neptune is located in Pisces and sets rather early. Uranus is hanging out by Aries and sets a little later. With an apparent magnitude of around 6, the use of binoculars is advised.

Constellations best seen in February

Auriga (Aur)

  • Meaning: The charioteer
  • Hemisphere: Northern
  • Size: 657 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 90 and -40 degrees
  • Asterism: 6 star
  • Right Ascension: 6 hours and 10 minutes / Declination: 40 degrees
  • Part of the Perseus constellation family
auriga constellation

Camelopardalis (Cam)

  • Hemisphere: Northern
  • Size: 757 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 90 and -10 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 5 hours and 30 minutes / Declination: 70 degrees
  • Asterism: 4 stars
  • Constellation Family: Ursa Major
camelopardalis constellation

Canis Major (CMa)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 380 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 60 and -90 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 7h / -20°
  • Asterism: 11 stars
  • Constellation Family: Orion
Canis Major constellation

Columba (Col)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 270 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 45 and -90 degrees
  • Right Ascension: between 05h 03m 53.8665s and 06h 39m 36.9263s and Declination: between -27.0772038° and -43.1116486°
  • Asterism: 7 stars
  • Constellation Family: Heavenly Waters
Columba constellation

Gemini (Gem)

  • Hemisphere: Northern
  • Size: 514 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 90 and -60 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 7h / +20°
  • Asterism: 18 stars
  • Constellation Family: Zodiac
Gemini constellation

Lepus (Lep)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 290 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 60 and -90 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 6 hours / 20° 
  • Asterism: 12 stars
  • Constellation Family: Orion
Lepus constellation

Monoceros (Mon)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 482 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 75 and -85 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 7.15h / −5.74
  • Asterism: 7 stars
  • Constellation Family: Orion
monoceros constellation

Pictor (Tau)

  • Hemisphere: Southern
  • Size: 247 square degrees of the sky.
  • Visible between latitudes: 25 and -90 degrees
  • RA/DEC: 4.53h to 6.85h / −43° to −64°
  • Asterism: 4 stars
  • Constellation Family: La Caille
pictor constellation

Deep Sky Objects best seen in February

Most deep-sky objects will require you to use equipment such as telescopes or astronomical binoculars. Most notable DSOs have been recorded during the last centuries in various catalogs such as the Messier catalog.

Various celestial entities like galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters make up deep-sky objects. Here are three such objects that offer an optimal viewing experience in February.

Bode’s Galaxy (M81)

Located approximately 11.7 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major, Bode’s Galaxy is a spiral galaxy that is one of the brightest galaxies observable from Earth. It is named after its discoverer, Johann Elert Bode, who first observed it in 1774.

  • Apparent magnitude: 6.92
  • Angular diameter: 21×10 arc-minutes
  • RA/DEC: 09h 55m 33s / +69d 03m 55s
  • Constellation: Ursa Major

The Cigar Galaxy (M82)

Situated in the constellation Ursa Major, the Cigar Galaxy or M82, is an unusual starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away from Earth.

  • Apparent magnitude: 8.41
  • Angular diameter: 9×4 arc-minutes
  • RA/DEC: 9h 55.8m/ +69° 41´ 
  • Constellation: Ursa Major

The Beehive Cluster (M44)

The Beehive Cluster, also known as Praesepe and M44, is an open star cluster in the constellation Cancer. It lies at a distance of around 577 light-years from Earth and is visible to the naked eye under good conditions.

  • Apparent magnitude: 3.7
  • Angular diameter: 95 arc-minutes
  • RA/DEC: 08h 40m / 19° 59′
  • Constellation: Cancer

Comets best seen in February

Here’s a list of notable comets you should be able to spot this month:


  • Constellation: Taurus
  • Magnitude: 10.45
  • Distance: 0.63 AU
  • RA/Dec: 03h 34m 3s / +14° 48′ 46″
  • Visibility: Visible until about 3/4 am

12P/Pons- Brooks

  • Constellation: Cygnus
  • Magnitude: 10.39
  • Distance: 2.08 AU
  • RA/Dec: 20h 26m 49s / +38° 05′ 27″
  • Visibility: All night

C/2021 S3 (PanSTARRS)

  • Constellation: Ophiuchus
  • Magnitude: 10.46
  • Distance: 1.41 AU
  • RA/Dec: 17h 27m 26s / -17° 26′ 46.2″
  • Visibility: after 3 am


  • Constellation: Eridanus
  • Magnitude: 12.07
  • Distance: 2.28 AU
  • RA/Dec: 02h 56m 39s / -01° 09′ 09″
  • Visibility: from sunset till 23.30 pm

Featured star of the month: Canopus

Every month, we’ll spotlight one of the brightest stars in the night sky. These celestial spotlights won’t require any specialized equipment – all you’ll need are your eyes, clear skies, and a bit of curiosity.

Canopus (Alpha Carinae)

  • Constellation: Carina
  • Apparent Magnitude: -0.72
  • Absolute Magnitude: -5.53
  • Distance: 309.8 light-years
  • Celestial Coordinates: RA 06h 23m 57.s | Dec −52° 41′ 44″

How to find this star: Although it is the second brightest star, those in the southern hemisphere have better chances of locating it. In the northern hemisphere, Canopus becomes invisible after 37 degrees latitude. Canopus is the easiest to spot if you know your way around the Winter Triangle (Sirius, Procyon, and Betelgeuse).

From Sirius, draw a straight line down toward the horizon (in the southern hemisphere, preferably) to reach Canopus. Although Canopus is a white star by chemical composition, because it is so low on the horizon, we see it redder due to atmospheric refraction.

Canopus is the second-brightest star in the night sky after Sirius. It is a rare F giant, a class that is poorly studied both because Canopus is not located in the northern hemisphere where much of the astronomical research happens, and also because F giants are very few in number.

Canopus is located in Carina

Canopus is la white bright giant star located in Carina. Image Source: Stellarium​

Spotting the ISS in the night sky

The station completes one full orbit around the Earth in 90 minutes (16 times in 24 hours), which means you could potentially see the station several times within a few hours period, provided you are on the night side of the planet and know where to look.

This nifty little widget created by NASA allows you to input the city you live in. It will then calculate and display the next ISS fly over time. You can find out how long the station will be visible and its position when it appears and disappears from the sky.

The International Space Station is fairly easy to locate in the sky. It is brighter than any other satellite in the sky and can sometimes reach an apparent magnitude similar to that of planet Venus. You can also sign up to receive alerts (via email or text) on this page.

Solar / Lunar eclipses

There are no eclipses of any kind happening this month. Check out our eclipse calendar for this year.

Meteor Shower of the month: The Alpha Centaurid

The α-Centaurid meteor shower is a minor annual meteor shower that is active from January 28 to February 21 every year. Its peak is usually around February 8th. It is known for producing a relatively small number of meteors per hour at its peak, often in the range of 5-7.

Opt for a viewing location that’s rural and dark, with a low Bortle scale rating, to ensure maximum visibility, free from the light pollution of urban areas. Be sure to dress warmly, as temperatures can drop significantly during nighttime hours. Bring along a comfortable chair or blanket to lie on, and give yourself plenty of time – at least 20 to 30 minutes – for your eyes to adjust to the darkness.

General Stargazing Tips

  • Plan ahead: Choose a few specific objects you’d like to observe and research where to find them in the night sky. Download a stargazing app or print out star maps to use as a reference.
  • Wait for darkness: Stargazing is best done when it’s completely dark outside, so aim for a time at least an hour after sunset. This will allow you to see more of the stars and planets in the sky.
  • Find a good spot: Look for an area with little light pollution and a clear view of the horizon. Avoid areas with tall buildings or trees that could obstruct your view.
  • Make sure to know the rules for public areas as you may need a permit, to purchase a campsite, etc. Think about who is coming and what you may need/ want such as bathroom access, electricity, distance from the car, etc.
  • Be sure to check the moon phase for that day before you go: A bright full moon can wash out fainter stars and planets and make your night of stargazing difficult.
  • Always plan backup dates: We cannot control or completely predict the weather. It’s one of the frustrating realities of stargazing: cancellations due to weather are common.
  • Set up your equipment: If you’re using a telescope, set it up and let it adjust to the outside temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  • Make sure your tripod is as steady as possible. Even the slightest wobble can cause stars to appear blurred.
  • Bring eyepieces of various focal lengths: Different objects in the night sky are best viewed at different magnifications, so bring a variety of eyepieces for your telescope.
  • Dress warmly: Stargazing can be a cold activity, especially in the winter, so be sure to dress in layers and bring a blanket or warm coat to keep yourself comfortable.
  • Most importantly, enjoy! Let your eyes soak in the beauty of our night sky!

Safety tips when stargazing in nature

I have been stargazing for more than a decade and I understand that the night sky can be inviting and mysterious, but please take safety precautions when spending long hours in the dark. I have enjoyed stargazing sessions from my own backyard as well as remote and dark places.

Therefore, I have a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Bring a buddy/group: Even if you’re an experienced stargazer, it’s never a bad idea to bring someone with you. It can help make the night more enjoyable and also provide safety in case something unexpected happens.
  • Dress appropriately: Wear comfortable clothing that will keep you warm in lower temperatures (especially during winter months) but also be aware of bugs or other critters that can be attracted to light sources.
  • Let someone know where you’ll be going: Give a family member, friend or roommate a general idea of where you’re going and when you’ll be back. What I usually do is share my live GPS location with my family so they know where I am and when I’m on the way home.
  • Have the necessary supplies: Bring plenty of water, snacks and torchlights to create a comfortable environment for stargazing. Also, make sure to bring a first-aid kit in case of any emergencies.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: make sure to stay away from any potential dangers such as cliffs, water bodies or cacti.
  • Stay on established trails or roads: Avoid wandering off into the wilderness and bring a whistle and flashing lights so you can be found if you get lost.
  • Being out in the dark can be disorienting, whilst also being a time when nocturnal animals become active. Make sure you know where you are and have an escape plan should something go wrong.
  • Lastly, remember that you are in nature so always leave the place better than how you found it. With proper preparation and safety tips in mind, stargazers of any skill level can enjoy a star-filled night under the NH sky. Happy Stargazing!

Be sure to check out my guide, if you want to know more about safe stargazing practices.

Useful Stargazing applications

The night sky can be a tricky thing to navigate, but luckily there are some amazing astronomy applications for smartphones that make the process a lot simpler. Some go-to free applications for iOS and Android users include:

Stellarium is a powerful, free app with a live interactive 3D view of the night sky. Simply hold your phone in front of you and the real-time sky above you will appear on your screen. It can also be used to quickly locate stars, constellations and galaxies with a tap of the finger.

Download here: Android – iOS

Clear Outside is designed to help you plan your stargazing sessions. It features a clear sky chart that tells you the local weather conditions and times when it is expected to be the clearest at night.

Download here: Android – iOS

My other monthly Stargazing guides for this year

I have curated an astronomical event guide for each month of the year; I highly recommend that you explore them.

Tom Urbain
I’ve been fascinated by space and astronomy from a very young age. When I’m not watching space-themed documentaries, movies or TV series, I spend most of my free time in my backyard admiring the planets and galaxies with my telescope.
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