Yukon Sky Report – February 2024
By: Shale Davis
Drawing a great deal international attention, the Moon continues to shine overhead. Several robotic missions have attempted landings in recent months, these landers were built by Russia, India, the USA, and Japan. Only those flown by India and Japan made successful touchdowns on the surface. This all comes as NASA proceeds with its goal of returning humans to the Moon in the coming years. A solid pair of binoculars will display incredible detail on the lunar surface.
Some good dates to remember….
- Feb 9 th , New Moon
- Feb 24 th , Full Moon
Bear in mind that full Moon is usually not the best time to make observations as all contrast is lost.
Jupiter – One of the brightest and most popular planets to observe Jupiter slowly makes its way across the sky. Jupiter can now be viewed immediately after sunset as it is far above the horizon at this time. Multiple distinct features on Jupiter’s surface can be resolved when viewing through a telescope. Look out for its large red bands, storms, and moons.
Saturn – Unfortunately Saturn’s time is coming to an end this month. It now follows closely behind the sun and is only briefly visible prior to setting.
Uranus – Lying just on the edge of what is possible to see with the unaided eye Uranus resides near Jupiter. Try to make out its visibly pale green colour.
Deep Sky Objects
Numerous deep sky objects can be seen this month. Remember that the Moon can spoil a planned night of DSO observing, so for best results aim for the days on and around new Moon.
The Crab Nebula – Located in the horns of Taurus this nebula is the remains of a supernova long ago.
M 78 – frequently overlooked due to its proximity to the infamous Orion Nebula, M 78 is a great target. To find it, simply above and to the right of Orion’s Belt.