Pocket Sky-Atlas Challenges for February

The February Sky

It is the riot of stars that draws February’s astronomer away from the warm hearth into bluster and cold nights. Gemini and Orion are full of pleasures and there are dogs and dog stars to look for as well. Somehow, the clear night don’t seem so cold with these old friends around.

This month we start the march of the “M’s”. These Messier Objects creep up slowly from the eastern horizon and soon the will be calling to astronomers, night after night, with their delights. As enticing as those Messier objects may be, try to spend some time on the other weird and wonderful stars and objects that hint at warmer days of spring. Even a quick venture with binoculars can soon turn into a full viewing session with just a little more planning. Get comfortable with them now so you can get the most out of your observing sessions when the weather warms up.

I’ve indexed the object to its star chart page.

Naked Eye


Wasat and Mebsuta, Page 23.
68, 74, 81 and, 85 Geminorum , Pages 24, 25.
Adhara, Page 27.

Larger Scopes


IC 2149 page 23.
NGC 2266, Page 23.
NGC 2359, Page 27.
NGC 3640 page 34.
NGC 2683, Page 35.


Small Scopes and Binoculars


M44, M67 Page 24.
30, 31Xi and 32 Geminorum, Page 25 (30 is listed, the other two are just below it on the same “leg”).
M41, Page 27.
M44, Page 35.


Bonus Objects


Cr 121, Cr 132 and Cr 140, Page 27 (These are all Collinder objects )
Lorenzin Tau LEO, Page 34 ( you’ll have to do some homework on this one!)
Groombridge 1830, Page 32


Happy Hunting!

Please remember that there is nothing to stop you from using a smaller telescope and try to capture objects set out for larger apertures ( this holds true for all the monthly Pocket Sky Atlas Challenges). The viewing classifications set out here are merely suggestions for good success from average viewing locations. There is nothing to stop you from finding the limits of you own sky and your own telescope/binocular.

Published with permission of John Kulczycki, 2012 all rights reserved.

About the Author

I’ve been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, but I’ve been an amateur astronomer for longer than that. Astronomy is the one science that everyone can try and make significant contributions. All you need to do is take the first step and go outside to enjoy then night sky.

I’ll see you there!