Podcaster: Rob Webb

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Title: Observing With Webb in February 2022

Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School

Link: ; ;
follow me : @MrWebbPV on Twitter and Instagram

This podcast is found on: Podbean page, Stitcher, and iTunes.  There’s also a video version on YouTube Channel. and I can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @mrwebbpv

The Pequea Valley Planetarium and its events and updates are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as @pvplanetarium.


It’s not often we get a month with almost no events, other than your normal moon phases, however, we do end February with a wonderful close encounter between the Moon, Mars, and Venus, and preview some future morning planets.

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It’s not often we get a month with almost no events, other than your normal moon phases, however, we do end February with a wonderful close encounter between the Moon, Mars, and Venus, and preview some future morning planets.

         Welcome to Observing With Webb, where a high school astronomy teacher tells you what you’re looking at, why it’s so cool, and what you should check out later this month…at night. 

Naked-eye PLANETS

Sunset – Jupiter???

  • Jupiter??? (W) – Maybe only for the first two weeks of February you can catch it VERY low on the Western horizon.

Throughout the night – None

Morning – Venus, Mars, Mercury

  • Venus (SE) – Keep an eye out after 5am, looking SE, for the highlight of the mornings for the next 6 months or so.  Almost impossible to miss, the brightest object in the morning sky will blaze as a “morning star” until September.
  • Mars (SE) – Mars starts February just 5˚ to the right of Venus, and ends about 5˚ below.  Mars is considerably dimmer than Venus, so you’ll have to get out there before dawn starts, when it’s still dark, and look low on the horizon for it, using Venus as a guidepost.
  • Mercury (SE) – I’ll leave this to the slightly experienced planet gazers, but from the 9th-16th, you might be able to catch Mercury about 10˚ below and to the left of Venus in the mornings.  You’ll be contending with the dimness of Mercury and brightness of dawn, but it is indeed possible.


New Moon – 1st (darkest skies)

Evening Crescents (look West after Sunset)

First Quarter Moon – 8th (Visible until midnight)

Evening Gibbous (Mostly lit, after Sunset)

Full Moon – 16th (Visible all night)

Waning Gibbous (Mostly lit, rises later at night)

Last Quarter Moon – 23rd (Visible from midnight into the morning)

Morning Crescents (look East in the AM)

27thClose Encounter – Moon, Mars, Venus – The only close encounter for the second half of the month will be pretty great.  Just get up early in the morning, after 5:30am, and look SE.  You’ll easily find Venus, the brightest object in the area. About 5˚ (three finger-widths) below Venus is dim Mars, and 5˚ below that is a very thin crescent Moon. Bonus points for anyone who has a good enough look at the horizon, and a good enough eye, to see Saturn and Mercury.  These two are about 20˚ to the left and down a little from the Moon, fairly dim, and in the twilight.  If you do find them, Saturn is down and to the left of Mercury about 4˚.


Use a sky map from to help you out.

After Dinner:

Orion & his winter companions –By 7pm, Orion is about as high as it will get for the night about halfway up the southern sky, tempting us to tour the winter constellations. Begin by finding Orion by looking for three stars in almost a straight line and close to each other, Orion’s Belt, which is surrounded by a bigger, vertical, almost rectangle of stars. Orion will be our guidepost for the other winter constellations. Start at the left belt star and draw a straight line connecting them, then continue that line far past the last belt star about 20˚ or two fist-widths held at arm’s length. There you’ll find the V constellation Taurus, with bright red Aldebaran at the top left of the V. Taurus is part of a big cluster of stars known as the Hyades.  Remember that line you just made? Follow it just 10˚ further (one fist-width) and you’ll find a mini-mini-dipper of stars call the Pleiades, which is another open cluster of stars within our Milky Way Galaxy. Let’s go back to the belt, but draw the connecting line from right to left, and continue about 20˚ past the belt, where you’ll find the brightest star in the sky, Sirius. Perhaps you can also see the constellation Canis Major, known as the big dog. We’ll stop there for this month, and pick up next month with Gemini, Auriga, and Canis Minor.

Before Bed:

Auriga, Gemini – Look almost straight up, and you’ll find a pentagon shaped constellation which is the Charioteer Auriga, with its brightest star Capella. Gemini, the twins, will be to the left of Auriga, with bright Castor and Pollux heading them up. For reference, Orion will be below both of them.

Before Work:

Leo, Big Dipper – Leo will be more to the West than before, but the Big Dipper will be super big and bright above Leo’s backward question mark.

End of podcast:

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