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.

Use a sky map from to help you out.


Enjoy the increasing daylight and temperature as we witness a planetary dance in the mornings, while preparing for a fantastic close encounter between three planets and the Moon in the last week.

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Enjoy the increasing daylight and temperature as we witness a planetary dance in the mornings, while preparing for a fantastic close encounter between three planets and the Moon in the last week.

         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 – None

Throughout the night – None

Morning – Technically all of them (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn)

Let’s use Venus as our guidepost for the month, as it is the most visible object in the morning sky.

  • Venus (SE) – Keep an eye out after 5am, looking SE, for the highlight of the mornings for the next 6 months or so.  About 20˚ above the horizon and almost impossible to miss, the brightest object in the morning sky will blaze as a “morning star” until September.
  • Mars (SE) – Mars starts March about 5˚ below Venus, and moves kind of like a backward clock around Venus, ending the month about 5˚ to the right of Venus.  Mars is considerably dimmer than Venus, so you’ll have to get out there before dawn starts, when it’s still dark, and look right around Venus for it.
  • Saturn (SE) – On March 5th, Saturn is VERY low on the horizon, being about 2 fist-widths diagonally down and to the left of Venus.  This will likely be a challenge to find, but have patience. Each day, Saturn closes that 20˚ gap between it and Venus a little bit.  On March 24th, Saturn will join Mars and Venus.  Saturn will be below and to the left of Venus about as much as Mars is down and to the right of Venus.  On the 28th, it passes right below Venus by 2˚, with the Moon nearby.


  • Mercury (SE) – For a second month, you’ll be contending with the dimness of Mercury and brightness of dawn, but it is indeed possible to see this swift planet, 4˚ down and to the left of Saturn on the 5th, but you’ll need a VERY clear view of the horizon and a clear morning.  Probably only visible for less than a week.
  • Jupiter (SE) ­– Kudos to you if you can see Jupiter! Positioned similar to Mercury (only 5˚ above the horizon around sunrise, about 25˚ down and to the left of Venus.  Your best chance is on the 31st, given that this is when it will be “highest”.  However, if you miss it, don’t worry, this is the beginning of Jupiter’s morning apparitions for the year, becoming easily found by the end of April.


New Moon – 2nd (darkest skies)

Evening Crescents (look West after Sunset)

First Quarter Moon – 10th (Visible until midnight)

Evening Gibbous (Mostly lit, after Sunset)

Full Moon – 18th (Visible all night)

Waning Gibbous (Mostly lit, rises later at night)

Last Quarter Moon – 25th (Visible from midnight into the morning)

Morning Crescents (look East in the AM)

13th – Daylight Savings Time Begins at 2am

20thSpring Equinox – Astronomically the first day of Spring, even though meteorologically Spring starts in the beginning of March.  Here’s some more info.

28thClose Encounter – Moon, Mars, Venus, Saturn – This is really a two-week long close encounter, where Venus, Mars, and Saturn do a wonderful triangular dance, with an old and thin crescent Moon joining in on the 28th.  In the mornings before sunrise, starting on March 21st, you’ll easily see Venus, with Mars down and to the right, and Saturn further down and to the left.  Saturn closes in each day, being just below Venus on the 28th by 2˚, while the Moon joins in as well, just 5˚ further away.  Overall, on the morning of the 28th, Venus will be 7˚ above and slightly to the left of the Moon, Saturn 5˚ above and slightly to the left of the Moon, and Mars 5˚ above the Moon.  After this, the Moon moves away, and the planets continue their triangular dance into the first week of April.


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:

Big Dipper, Bootes, Virgo – The Big Dipper should be easy to find in the NW. Follow the curve of his tail or handle to the next bright star you see, about 30˚ away, which is Arcturus. “Follow the arc to Arcturus.” That’s the brightest star in Bootes, which looks like a kite. Take that same curve, and follow it about another 20˚ to “speed on to Spica”, the brightest star in Virgo, one of my favorite constellations, since it reminds me of the Dickinson Mermaid.

End of podcast:

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