Dark Sky News

February 2024

Click here for the SAS Pictures of the Month (February 2024)!

I thought I would keep these here still this month as well! Some well known visible objects:

Orion Nebula (M42) 

Pleiades (M45)

Hyades Cluster

Asterisms: Orion’s belt, Orion’s sword

Deep Sky Objects

Crab Nebula (M1) – pulsar and supernova remnant (visible in binoculars)

Horsehead Nebula (IC 434) – dark nebula in Orion

Flame Nebula (M78) – emission nebula in Orion

Here is a nice description of more objects in this general vicinity.

Jupiter’s position is deteriorating this month, so this might be your last chance to see some nice activity. This month, multiple Io and Europa moon transits are somewhat synchronized with an optimal observing time between 7pm and 2am. So if you go to this site, you can get precise times for the following:

Io Moon Transits on Jupiter:

on the nights of Feb. 4, 6, 13, 20

Europa moon transit and a nice clustering of moons 

nights of Feb. 7, 14

Here is a link to a website by one of our members (David Murray) showing images that are also currently on display at an exhibition until Jan. 31st at the Reuben Hoar Library in Littleton, MA!

Bright near overhead pass of the ISS going from from the northwest near Vega to the south east right by Sirius! It begins at 5:26:05PM, hits a peak magnitude of -3.7 rivaling Venus and outshining Jupiter,  then sets at 5:36:08PM.

With days getting longer, don’t forget to take advantage of the darkness of the new moon to do some stargazing or imaging! Although comet 62P/Tsuchinshan is a ridiculous 9+ magnitude comet (so quite difficult to see unless you have very dark skies) this site gives a beautiful 3D view of the comet’s path and some very interesting information. 

Jupiter and the quarter Moon make a beautiful pair in the sky tonight so take a minute to step outside to take a look.

Be sure to watch this live! The Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission with the company’s Nova-C lunar lander could end up being the first NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission to land on the moon after the failure of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander. The IM-1 is a suite of five robotic NASA payloads sent to the moon’s surface as part of a CLPS delivery.

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