Planet in February 2016

In February, continuing a run of parade of the five planets – mercury, Venus, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter lined up in the morning sky. In early February, their background will be the sickle of the waning moon, and by the middle of month two of the five planets will become unavailable for visual observations of mercury and Venus, disappearing into the rays of the rising Sun. Jupiter is in its best appearances in 2016. Uranus and Neptune gradually complete its visibility in the evening sky. The sun moves through the constellation of Capricorn, February 15, passing in the constellation of Aquarius.

The moon will come together with these planets: 1 February when the lunar phase is from 0.5 to Mars, on 4 February when the lunar phase 0.2 to Saturn, on 6 February when the lunar phase is 0.08 – Venus and mercury, 10 February when the lunar phase 0,03 – with Neptune, on 13 February when the lunar phase 0.25 and with Uranus, on 24 February when the lunar phase 0,97 – with Jupiter. For observations it is better to choose nights when the Moon is near the full phase passes close to the observed planet.

The circumstances of visibility are given for the middle latitudes of Russia (about 56° N. lat.). For cities North and South of the celestial bodies will be located at the specified time, respectively, slightly below or above (difference of latitude) in their places on nebovidska. To clarify the local conditions of visibility of planets – use of the program is the planetarium.

MERCURY moves in one direction with the Sun through the constellations of Sagittarius and Capricorn close to Venus. Visible in the background of the dawn, the first half of the month less than half an hour in the middle latitudes, it will then disappear in the rays of the rising Sun. Glitter of mercury has a negative value, which will easily detect it in the morning sky bright stars (+0m at the beginning of the month) at the South-Eastern horizon. The maximum elongation of 25.5° mercury will reach 7 February at magnitude -0,1 m. February 13, mercury will come close to Venus 4 degrees.

Close conjunction of mercury with Venus on February 13, 2016

The planet phase for February increases from 0.49 to 0.86, with a growing sparkle from +0m to -0.4 m. Mercury’s angular size in earth’s sky is reduced from 7 to 5 seconds of arc. For successful observations of mercury during periods of likely need binoculars, an open horizon and a clear twilight sky. The telescope can observe a tiny half-disk without the details turning to the end of visibility in the oval.

VENUS moves in the same direction with the Sun through the constellations of Sagittarius and Capricorn near mercury. The planet is visible in the morning sky as the brightest star low above the southeastern horizon 45 minutes (in the middle latitudes). The elongation of the planet is reduced from 31 to 25 degrees from the Sun. The angular size of the disk of the planet is reduced from 12 to 11 seconds of arc while reducing Shine with up to -4,0 -3,9 m. Such a high gloss and the angular distance from the Sun (elongation) you can see Venus even in the daytime sky with the naked eye (under certain atmospheric conditions). Binoculars or a telescope can observe the white oval with no details – a phase of the planet increasing from 0.85 to 0.91.

Parade of the five planets in the morning sky in early February 2016.

MARS moves in one direction with the Sun in the constellation Libra. The visibility of the planet in the middle latitudes on the background of the morning about 5-6 hours low above the South-Eastern and southern horizon. The brilliance of the planet increases +0,9 m to +0.3 m, and the angular diameter from 6″ to 8″. To observe Mars in a telescope is more effective only in the days of confrontation, such conditions will be in may 2016. On other days of the year is seen through the telescope a tiny disk of the planet with no details.

JUPITER moves retrograde in the constellation Leo, near the border with the constellation Virgo. The gas giant was observed at night and the morning sky with increasing duration of visibility from 11 to 12 hours in middle latitudes. Angular diameter of the planet-giants in the sky increases from 42 to 44 arc seconds and Shine – from -2.3 m to 2.5 m. Is the time favorable conditions for observations of Jupiter – the largest planet in the Solar system comes into opposition with the Sun.

Position of Jupiter in the night sky of February 2016

In binoculars you can see only four bright satellites of the giant – because of the rapid orbital motion they noticeably change their position relative to each other and Jupiter in one night (configuration, IO, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto can be found in astronomical calendars or planetarium programs).

The telescope in different lanes (North and South Equatorial bands) and shadows from satellites on the disk of the planet, as well as the famous huge oval cyclone BKP (Great Red Spot) making full turn together with the planet’s atmosphere for 9.5 hours.

The moments of passing the BCP through the Central Meridian of Jupiter in February 2016. (times UT)

To get time for Bratsk, you need to world time add 8 hours

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