The Nantucket Sky in February 2014
The Maria Mitchell Observatory is named in honor of the first woman astronomer in the United States, a native of Nantucket.
In the winter, MMO offers public stargazing free of charge twice a month at Loines Observatory (59 Milk Street), weather permitting. Please consult the MMA calendar for dates. Stargazing begins at 7:30 pm and ends at 9:00 pm. The Observatory has two telescopes, a beautifully refurbished antique 8-inch Clark telescope and our new state-of-the-art 24-inch research telescope. The evening will include telescopic viewing of the Moon when possible (with the crater named after Maria Mitchell), exploding stars, star clusters, galaxies and other celestial objects, as well as a comprehensive tour of the constellations.
Your donations help keep our public stargazing nights free for everyone, so please support the Maria Mitchell Association!
If you’d like to know when noteworthy astronomical events are taking place such as solar flares, meteor showers or the International Space Station passes over Nantucket, be sure to subscribe to our AstroAlert notices ot follow @ACKstronomy on Twitter so you won’t miss anything!
Quick glance: What’s in the sky over Nantucket right now!
1. The Sun
Sunrise (for the first and last days of the month): 6:51 am; 6:16 am
Sunset (for the first and last days of the month): 4:56 pm; 5:29 pm
New Moon: March 1st First Quarter: February 6th Full Moon: February 14th Last Quarter: February 22nd
The Moon is at its farthest position from the Earth (apogee) on February 12th and at its closest position (perigee) on February 27th.
3. Planets visible with the unaided eye
Mercury: The Sun’s closest companion is visible very low on the western horizon just after sunset.
Venus: The closest planet to Earth, Venus can be seen low in the eastern sky shortly before sunrise.
Mars: The red planet rises in the eastern sky around 11 PM and remains visible for the rest of the night. It can be found near the bright star Spica
Jupiter: The solar system’s largest planet is quite bright in the evening sky, visible from sunset until it sets around 5 AM. You’ll find it between the bright stars Betelgeuse and Pollux.
Saturn: The ringed planet is visible during February. You’ll find it in the south-eastern sky from about 2 AM until daybreak.
4. Meteor showers
There are no significant meteor showers visible from Nantucket during this month.