February sky | Comet, Venus and Jupiter draw attention this month

February sky |  Comet, Venus and Jupiter draw attention this month

February already begins with a formidable spectacle: the very rare passage of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) through the Earth’s vicinity. Over the next few weeks, beautiful planetary conjunctions continue to roll in — quite a treat for night sky admirers and a great opportunity to practice astrophotography.

  • Heaven of 2023 | Conjunctions of planets and solar eclipse are highlighted this year
  • See photo of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) as it approaches the Sun

See below for the celestial events happening this month!

Astronomical events in February 2023

February 1: Passage of Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF)

The long-awaited “visit” of comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) has its big moment on the first of the month, when it reaches its maximum brightness as it passes 42 million kilometers from Earth. However, on this day it will still not be possible to find it in the sky here in the Southern Hemisphere.

Brazilians: wait a few more days

Although we do not have the opportunity to see the comet on the night of its maximum brightness, it begins to appear in the sky of the southern hemisphere in the following days.

On February 2nd, C/2022 E3 (ZTF) appears just above the skyline in the early evening and gets higher and higher as the days pass. Residents of the Northeast region will be able to see it first and, little by little, it will spread its grace to the other regions, reaching the Southeast and then the South.

For observers from São Paulo, on the 10th it will be high in the sky between 7 pm and 9 pm, close to Mars:

The problem is that, after the 1st, the comet’s brightness gets weaker and weaker. On the 10th, despite being in a great position for us, its brightness will be too dim for us to see it with the naked eye. Therefore, the solution is to equip yourself with binoculars or a home telescope for this observation.

February 15: Venus conjunction Neptune

Tonight, starting at 7:25 pm, the planets Venus and Neptune will be together in the sky, facing west. This, however, is not a simple observation, as Neptune is not visible to the naked eye and requires at least a pair of binoculars to find.

Also, the conjunction happens just above the horizon line and disappears in about twenty minutes. That is: only those who are in higher places and away from cities full of buildings will have any chance of admiring this celestial encounter.

February 22: Jupiter and Venus close to the Moon

Venus and Jupiter begin to approach each other this month, heading towards a beautiful conjunction that happens in March. And, in the early evening of February 22nd, the Moon appears between the two planets just after the Sun sets.

Moon Phases in February 2023

Check out the lunar calendar for February and find out when each phase of the Moon begins this month:

  • February 5th at 3:28 pm: Full moon

  • February 13 at 1pm: Last Quarter

  • February 20 at 4:05 am: New moon

  • February 27th at 5:05 am: Crescent quarter