After January spoiled us with heavenly views, I also researched the most important events in the sky in February 2020.
February is the shortest calendar month of the year, so is this February, despite the leap year. 29 days for celestial phenomena that we can observe in the sky in February 2020.
Moon phases in February
On February 2, the crescent moon will move across the sky. At night at 02:41 we see the moon illuminated halfway.
Snow Moon or Hornung
Seven days later, on 09.02.2020 is full moon. The February full moon is also called snow moon or hornung. At 8:33 a.m. the moon bathes its splendor in the sunlight and can be seen – assuming a cloudless sky – as a 100% full moon.
But what does Hornung actually mean?
There are various theories for the origin of the Old German name Hornung . On the one hand, it is believed that it originates from the observation of our ancestors that red deer shed their antlers at this time of year. Another theory refers to the length of the month of February: With its 28 or 29 days, the month is shorter than all the others – it is assumed that in Old and Middle High German it was therefore given the unflattering name hornunc : bastard. (Source: Time & Dates)
New moon in the sky in February 2020
After the full moon, our Earth's satellite is on a diet again and is losing weight. The crescent will be visible in the sky at 11:17 p.m. on February 15. Subsequently, the image forms into an ever smaller crescent. The optimal night for stargazers is then on February 23rd. At 16:32 o'clock the new moon appears in the sky.
The next day, the fine crescent of the waxing moon can be seen.
And what else?
The planet Mercury reaches its largest eastern elongation of 18° on February 10. The evenings of the week around this night are the best opportunities to see the planet with a magnitude of −0.6. This evening, Mercury will be 15° above the western horizon and will be visible in the dark sky in February 2020. It will go down just 1 hour and 35 minutes later at 19:06.
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Only 58,000,000 km separate Mercury from the Sun. Between the small Mercury and the earth are then again 92,000,000 km.
Astronomical Forms in the sky in February
If you look at the sky on a clear winter night, you will see many well-known and lesser-known constellations. Six stars have particularly impressed astronomers, because these six form the winter hexagon.
The complete winter hexagon can be seen in the sky in February 2020. It is formed from the six stars Capella (also: Kapella) in the carter, the twins Castor and Pollux, the small dog Procyon, Rigel in Orion, the red Aldebaran as the eye of Taurus and the big dog Sirius, the brightest fixed star of our sky. In the southern night sky, it is easy to see between 21:00 and 22:00. As the night progresses, the earth continues to rotate and we humans get the impression that the hexagon is setting in the west.