What’s Up! February 2022

A monthly look at astronomical events in the sky and on Earth 

Compiled by Steve Sawyer and John Rowland

Hi, welcome to February’s what’s up.  Hopefully, you’ve all survived the January blues and are looking forward to some late winter stargazing.

[Take the February 2022 Quiz – Stars and Stellar Systems]


So what’s on this month?

Snow! Well, it depends, but February is the month that has the most snowfall in the Northern Hemisphere. You never know you might be able to dust off the sledge! But that’s enough about the weather, so on to astronomy!

Onto this month’s viewing:

February Objects


The Sun

Slowly getting higher in the case and the daylight hours are increasing.  You have nearly 11 hours of the night at the start of the month and only 9 hours 21 minutes by the end.

The sunspot number at the time of writing is 57 and the sun is becoming more active with solar flares erupting more often. For more info on the sun and solar weather, have a look at the Space Weather Prediction Centre website and the SpaceWeather website is always a favourite of mine.


The Moon

The new moon is on the 1st February 0546 GMT, which means the sky will be nice and dark so tonight is a good time to take images of any DSO’s you’re hunting.

On Wednesday the 2nd of February, a very thin (3%-lit) waxing Crescent Moon may be seen very low above the southwest horizon. If you have a clear view of the southwest horizon down to ground level then this might be possible to see it! (See the Crescent Moon Watch page for more details.)

The best days to observe the moon will be at the beginning and towards the end of the month, avoiding the brightest moons in the middle of the month.


February’s Lunar Events

Date Time Description
02nd 21:10 GMT Jupiter 4.3°N of Moon
03rd 21:13 GMT Neptune 3.9°N of Moon
04th 19:05 GMT Saturn at superior conjunction
07th 19:39 GMT Uranus 1.2°N of Moon
08th 13:50 GMT First Quarter
10th 08:53 GMT Aldebaran 6.7°S of Moon
11th 02:37 GMT Moon at apogee = 404,897 km
13th* 01:00 GMT Mars 7.0°S of Venus
13th 23:28 GMT Pollux 2.6°N of Moon
16th 16:56 GMT Full Moon
16th 17:46 GMT Regulus 4.8°S of Moon
16th 21:07 GMT Mercury at greatest elongation (26.3°W, mag. -0.0)
20th 19:34 GMT Spica 5.3°S of Moon
23rd 22:32 GMT Last Quarter
24th 05:50 GMT Antares 3.4°S of Moon
26th 22:25 GMT Moon at perigee = 367,789 km
27th 06:28 GMT Venus 8.7°N of Moon
27th 08:59 GMT Mars 3.5°N of Moon
28th 20:05 GMT Mercury 3.7°N of Moon
28th 23:45 GMT Saturn 4.3°N of Moon

*These objects are close together for an extended period around this time.

Ref: “2022 Guide to the Night Sky”, by Storm Dunlop, Wil Tirion (RGO), Publisher: Collins

A full lunar calendar can be found at the Moon Info website (Moon Phases 2022).


The Planets

What can you see this month?



Is there a morning planet this month? Its position is very low on the horizon and so hard to see.



Also a morning planet, easier to spot than Mercury but still low on the horizon.



Another morning planet, with the best time to see, is around an hour before sunrise.  Mars doesn’t get any higher in the sky over the course of the month, but its brightness does increase which will make it easier to spot.


A diagram showing Mercury, Venus and Mars on the 1st of the month.




Early evening planet which can be seen shortly after sunset.  The planet slowly descends over the course of the month becoming less visible in the glare of the setting sun



Not visible this month


Meteor Showers

No major showers this month I’m afraid.



2 to spot this month


C/2019 L3 Atlas

This comet can be found within Gemini, not too easy to see but should be visible in most scopes.



And  19P/ Borrelly at around mag +8.8 to be found in Pisces and then moving higher in the sky as the month draws on.



Deep Sky Objects (DSOs)

February is one of the best times to view the section of the Milky Way that runs in the northern and western sky from Cygnus, low on the northern horizon, through Cassiopeia, Perseus and Auriga and then down through Gemini and Monoceros.  It is still one of the best times for viewing Orion and the Horsehead nebula is always a  great target. Some of the major DSO’s are shown below.  As always it’s worth checking out the Sky at Night magazine for their monthly recommendations.



Man’s Space Activities


Spotting the International Space Station (ISS)


Date Visible Max Height* Appears Disappears
Tue Feb 1, 6:53 PM 4 min 21° 10° above W 15° above S
Wed Feb 2, 6:05 PM 6 min 28° 10° above W 10° above SE
Thu Feb 3, 6:54 PM 2 min 12° 10° above WSW 10° above SSW
Fri Feb 4, 6:06 PM 4 min 16° 10° above WSW 10° above S

Ref: Spot the Station website (York, UK)


Results for January 2021 Quiz

Winners, all with a score of 9 out of a possible 12 were:

Andrew Downie; Quinn Smith

Very Well Done!

For details of the Answers, follow this link: Whats_Up_January_2022_Quiz_Answers


This Month’s Quiz – Stars and Stellar Systems


Quiz icon12 multi-choice questions for beginners up to experts level.
Please click on the link below to take the quiz.
Follow the February 2022 Quiz link here!
And Good Luck!

The winner(s) will be posted on the website (“Leave a Reply”) and also at the next YAS Meeting after the 15th.

Thanks for your interest, and we wish you clear skies and good viewing. Stay safe!

Steve Sawyer and  John Rowland!


4 thoughts on “What’s Up! February 2022

  1. Hi
    I think the quiz is an excellent idea if you have sufficient time for this each month.
    It means I’m likely to read the whole What’s Up.
    But I know from monthly articles I write for YPS how awkward it can be to find the right time for this to the high standard you have started.

  2. The February Quiz has now closed and we’re pleased to announce the two winners, each answering all 12 questions correctly! They are Andrew Downie and Paul Thornley. Congratulations must go to both these game fellows, and particularly Andrew, who has been one of the winners on at least one previous occasion.

    Also, a “Well done” should be sent out to Mike Suttill and Christopher Gallagher who both scored 10 out of 12.

    The average score was 8.9, with remaining scores ranging from 7 to 5.

    Thanks to all who gave it a go. Next month, it’s Comets and Meteors.

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