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Post Info TOPIC: February 2012


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The waxing gibbous Moon is near the Pleiades, 1st February, 2012.



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Tonight's Sky: February 2012



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Meteor Showers

February has no major meteor showers but there are a couple of minor showers for Southern hemisphere observers, the Alpha and Beta Centaurids. Although the Alpha Centaurids is considered a minor shower, in some years the number of meteors rises enough to reach the level of a major shower. While Alpha & Beta Centaurids can occasionally be seen during most of the month, their peaks occur on the same night, in the early morning hours of February 8.

ShowerActivity PeriodMaximumRadiantVelocityZHR
  DateR.A.Dec.km/s 
Beta Centaurids1- 25 February9 February13.9h-58.1°58.913.2
Alpha Centaurids 9 February14.5h-59.8°58.27.0
Pi VirginidsFeb.- 9 March12 February    
Beta LeonidsFeb.- 25 March13 February    
Delta VelidsJan 22-Feb 2114 February08:44-52°351
Omicron CentauridsJan 31-Feb 1914 February11:48-56°512
Delta LeonidsFeb 15-Mar 1022 February11:12+16°232
Sigma Leonids 25 February176°+9° 2


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Highlightsdaffodil2.gif

Objects of the Heart for Valentine's Day.
On February 14, many areas of the world will celebrate love with Valentine's Day. For those of you lucky enough to have a loved one of your own, consider the following objects provided in the Heavens:
The first and most obvious is the planet of Venus, named after the Greek Goddess of love. Now, go over to the constellation of Cassiopeia, and you will find The Heart Nebula. Officially called by the decidedly less romantic "IC1805", the Heart Nebula glows a reddish hue (naturally!) at magnitude 6. Surrounding the delicate splash of diamonds, is the star cluster Mel-15.
Next is the Rosette Nebula ,NGC2237. Located in Monoceros, this delicate planetary nebula is perhaps one of the prettiest in the sky. Zoom in with a field of view of 4 degrees, you will see beauty gracefully bloom on your screen unlike anything you're seen before. If the roses have done their job, you may at last want to consider the Ring Nebula, M57. Rising in the early morning hours during the winter, M57 is one of the easiest to locate deep-sky objects and one of the most aptly named, nestled gently in the side of Lyra, the Lyre. Low power telescope views show a very small blue/green disk, not much bigger than a star. Medium to high power will magnify the size of the nebula while leaving the surrounding stars the same size, confirming you have found it. Can be seen in binoculars as a faint star like point of light.



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Asteroids at Opposition

Asteroid (96) Aegle is at Opposition on the 10th February, 2012.
Magnitude: 11.0
Distance to Earth: 1.685 AU
Distance to Sun: 2.672 AU 

Asteroid (471) Papagena is at Opposition on the 12th February, 2012.
Magnitude: 10.9
Distance to Sun: 2.919 AU
Distance to Earth: 1.970 AU 

Asteroid (389) Industria is at Opposition on the 21st February, 2012.
Magnitude: 11.1
Distance to Earth: 1.483 AU
Distance to Sun: 2.463 AU 

Asteroid (6) Hebe is at Opposition on the 27st February, 2012. 
Magnitude: 9.4
Distance to Earth: 1.774 AU 
Distance to Sun: 2.759 AU 

Asteroid (433) Eros is at Opposition on the 1st March, 2012.
Magnitude: 9.2
Distance to Earth: 0.226 AU = 87.8 lunar distances 
Distance to Sun: 1.180 AU 
Relative velocity: 5.52 km/s 



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Mercury: at magnitude -1.1, starts the month in the constellation of Capricornus.
(On February 14th, RA=22h14m47s  Dec=-12°42.5' (J2000) Distance=1.339AU  Elongation=  6°   Phase k=98%  Diameter=5.0")

Venus: is at magnitude -4.1. The planet is in constellation Aquarius at the start of the month. It is best seen from 9.4h -20.5h. Venus is close to Uranus (18.2') at 2:08 UT, 10th February.
(On February 1st, RA=23h30m55s  Dec= -4°07.0' (J2000) Distance=1.104AU  Elongation= 40°   Phase k=74%  Diameter=15.1")

 phase.gif


Earth: -

The Moon: Full Moon (diameter: 31.839', declination: 10.87°) at 21:53.7 UT, 7th February, 2012. Lunar apogee (distance to moon center: 398522.8 km, apparent diameter: 29'59.2") at 14:05.1 UT, 27th February. Last Quarter Moon (declination: -20.45°) at 17:03.9 UT, 14th February.  Lunar perigee (distance to moon center: 361515.0 km, apparent diameter: 33'03.3") at 18:44.1 UT, 11th February.
New Moon (diameter: 30.514', declination: -5.88°) at 22:34.6 UT, 21st February.

Mars: at magnitude -0.6 starts the month in the constellation Virgo.
(On February 1st, RA=11h38m34s  Dec= +6°29.2' (J2000) Distance=0.792AU  Elongation=139°   Phase k=96%  Diameter=11.8")

Jupiter: is in the constellation Aries. At magnitude -2.4, the planet is best seen from 16.9h - 0.7h.
Transit times of the Great Red Spot are posted in a separate thread.
(On February 1st, RA= 2h02m37s  Dec=+11°19.0' (J2000) Distance=5.034AU  Elongation= 81°   Diameter=39.1")

Saturn: at magnitude 0.6 sits in the constellation Virgo. The planet is best seen from 0.3h - 7.9h.
(
On February 1st, RA=13h52m36s  Dec= -8°50.0' (J2000) Distance=9.447AU  Elongation=102°   Diameter=17.5")

Uranus: is in the constellation Pisces. Uranus at magnitude 5.9, has a bluish-green hue and appears 3.5 arcseconds wide.
(On February 1st, RA= 0h07m09s  Dec= +0°00.5' (J2000) Distance=20.700AU  Elongation= 50°   Diameter=3.4")

Neptune: is at magnitude 7.9 in the constellation Aquarius. The planet is best seen from 17.5h - 18.0h. Neptune is in conjunction on the 19th February, 2012.
(
On December 1st, RA=22h01m53s Dec=-12°38.9' (J2000) Distance=30.174AU Elongation= 79° Diameter=2.2")

Pluto: is in the constellation Sagittarius (mag 14.1). Normally, a finder chart is necessary to help in identifying the 0.1" diameter dwarf planet. The dwarf planet is best seen from 18.5h - 6.3h.
(On February 1st, RA=18h34m44s  Dec=-19°18.3' (J2000) Distance=32.990AU  Elongation= 33°   Diameter=0.1")

The Sun enters the zodiac sign of Pisces at 6:18 UT on the 19th February.



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