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By Temecula Valley Astronomers
Special to Valley News 

Looking Up – February 2019

 

Last updated 2/1/2019 at 12:10am

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Stargazing can be a daunting task for beginners, but for those interested in observing the celestial bodies found in the night sky, the Temecula Valley Astronomers make it easy to learn about what can be found in the night sky,

The Temecula Valley Astronomers are a group of southwest Riverside County enthusiasts dedicated to sparking interest in amateur astronomy and supporting efforts related to all things cosmological through meetings and presentations, star parties, mentoring school clubs, special events and other community outreach efforts.

All times are Pacific Standard Time.

This month's moon phases are as follows:

New moon in Capricorn, Monday, Jan. 4, at 1:04 a.m.

First Quarter in Taurus, Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 2:27 p.m.

Full moon in Leo, Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 7:54 a.m.

Third Quarter in Ophiuchus, Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 3:28 a.m.

The Apogee moon, or the point in the orbit of the moon that it is furthest from the earth, is Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 1:28 a.m.

The Perigee moon, or the point in the orbit of the moon that it is nearest to the earth is Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 1:17 a.m.

The year 2019 will have 13 new moons, 12 first quarter moons, 12 full moons, 12 third quarter moons, one black moon and no blue moons.

Daylight saving time begins Sunday, March 10, at 2 a.m. and ends Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 a.m.

Luna: Luna is New on the fourth of the month and third quarter by the end. There is a "supermoon" Feb. 19, so look for the big red "S" on Luna and say "Kal-El."

Lunar highlights:

During the Feb. 4 new moon is the best time to observe faint objects such as galaxies.

The Feb. 19 full moon was known by some Native American tribes as the "Full Snow moon" because the heaviest snows fell during that time of year. The Feb. 19 full moon is the second of three "super moons" for 2019. During the moon's closest approach to the earth this year, the moon is expected to look slightly larger and brighter than usual, according to http://www.SeaSky.org.

The Delta Leonids occur between Feb. 15 and March 10, with the peak occurring Feb. 25 each year. The source of this meteor shower is the Tempel-Tuttle, the closest star to the radiant point of the meteor shower is Zosma. Coordinates for viewing the Leonids are α: 168° and the δ: 16°, according to http://www.SeaSky.org.

Before sunrise Feb. 27, Mercury will be at greatest eastern elongation, or the angular separation between the Sun and the planet, of 18.1 degrees. Look for the planet in the low western sky after sunset.

Planetary Positions for February:

Mercury: Mercury is lost to the glare of the Sun all month. On Feb. 27, Mercury is at its longest elongation.

Venus: The Morning Star. Get up pre-dawn to see Venus.

Mars: Mars is still visible this month setting between 10:30 and 11:08 p.m.

Jupiter: Jupiter is also a predawn object.

Saturn: Saturn remains an early morning object.

Uranus: Uranus is still a good visual find and challenging; setting between 9:39 and 11:21 p.m.

Neptune: Neptune is still visible but is a real challenge for small scopes: mag +7.9 and 0.2 arcseconds.

Pluto: Pluto is gone until about Feb. 14 when you can find Pluto rising at 4:44 a.m.

Asteroids and other celestial bodies:

Asteroids: Consult your local planetarium software or try http://www.asteroidsnear.com/year?year=2019, for more information on asteroids.

Comets: It promises to be a disappointing year for comet enthusiasts.

For more information, visit http://www.SeaSky.org, http://www.in-the-sky.org, The American Meteor Society Ltd., http://www.cometwatch.co.uk or http://www.NASA.gov.

Keep looking up.

Compiled by Clark Williams.

 

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