What’s in the Sky Tonight: February 2024

~6 min

February of 2024 is a relatively quiet month in terms of stargazing events. However, it offers many opportunities to observe the planets one by one as well as close to our natural satellite. Let's find out what's going on in the sky this month!


Astronomical events in February 2024

The event dates given further are in GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), and the exact dates vary for different locations. To find out the time and date of the event for your location, use the Sky Tonight stargazing app.

*The highlighted events are the most spectacular events of the month.

Planets in February 2024

Northern Hemisphere

For most locations, Mercury will be too close to the Sun to be visible. Look for Venus (mag -3.9) near the southeastern horizon in Sagittarius in the morning until mid-month. Mars (mag 1.3) moves slowly away from the Sun, passing through Sagittarius and then Capricornus in the east in the morning. Jupiter (mag -2.1) can be seen in Aries in the evening. From the beginning to the middle of the month, Saturn (mag 1.1) is low in the southwest in the evening for no more than an hour in Aquarius. Fainter Uranus (mag 5.7), which requires a telescope or binoculars for observation, can be found in Aries in the evening. Neptune (mag 7.9) is visible above the southwestern horizon in Pisces in the evening.

Find out when a planet is best visible from your location with the Sky Tonight app. It also shows when a planet or any other celestial object rises and sets for your exact location and helps you plan a stargazing night.

Southern Hemisphere

Until the middle of the month, Mercury (mag -0.5) will be low above the eastern horizon in Capricornus in the morning. Venus (mag -3.9) is visible in the east in the morning as it passes through Sagittarius and Capricornus. Mars (mag 1.3), which is close to Venus this month, is also visible in the morning in Sagittarius and Capricornus. In the evening, look to the the northwest direction for Jupiter (mag -2.1) in Aries. Saturn (mag 1.1) is also visible in the evening near the western horizon in Aquarius from early to mid-month. Use binoculars to see Uranus (mag 5.7) in the northwest in Aries and Neptune (mag 7.9) low above the western horizon in Pisces after sunset.

Moon near planets

A close approach of the Moon and a planet is a great astronomical event that you can observe every month. Some of them are more spectacular than others.

First, the nearly New Moon will meet bright Venus on February 7; then, the next day, it’ll approach Mercury and Mars. The celestial objects will rise above the horizon in the predawn sky just before sunrise. While Venus will be bright enough to be visible in the morning twilight, Mercury and Mars will be too close to the Sun for most locations.

A few days later, on February 11, the Moon will begin its series of encounters with the evening planets — Saturn, Neptune, Jupiter, and Uranus. On February 12, our natural satellite will even pass in front of Neptune, hiding it for observers in Australia, the Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea. Keep in mind that the fainter Neptune and Uranus aren't visible to the naked eye, so you'll need a telescope or binoculars to observe them.

The most spectacular close approach will be with Jupiter on February 15. The planet is the second brightest after Venus and is easily visible; in addition, the Moon will be 42% illuminated, clearly visible in the sky. Learn more about the bright planets (and stars) near the Moon in the dedicated article.

Venus and Mars

On February 22, see the first and last conjunction of the year between bright Venus and red Mars! Look for the planets above the eastern horizon in the constellation Capricornus, where they'll be in the morning, just before sunrise. The apparent distance between the planets will be only 0°36' — slightly larger than the apparent diameter of a Full Moon.

This event will certainly amuse observers from the Southern Hemisphere, where the planets will rise higher above the horizon. They'll be more difficult to see from northern latitudes. For observations, try to find a place with a horizon free of tall buildings or trees. Want to know when the next planetary conjunction is? Read our dedicated article.

Full Snow Moon

This month's Full Moon will occur on February 24 at 12:30 GMT (7:30 a.m. EST). The Moon will appear fully illuminated for one day before and after the exact date, so take advantage of those few days to enjoy our natural satellite and perhaps take some stunning pictures. By the way, it'll be the first micromoon of the year — learn what that means in our article. Spoiler: the Moon will appear slightly smaller, but you probably won't notice the difference.

In North America and Europe, the February Full Moon is often called a Snow Moon. You don't have to think twice to find out why: February is a month of heavy snowfall in these regions. But the names of other Full Moons aren't so obvious. For example, do you know why the March Full Moon is called the Worm Moon? Check out our infographic for the right answer.

Full Moons in 2024
When is the next Full Moon in 2024? When is the Super Blue Moon this year? Check our Full Moon calendar for all dates, times, names, Supermoons, and more for the year.
See Infographic

Meteor showers in February 2024

There will be no noticeable meteor shower peaks visible in the Northern Hemisphere in February. However, it’s still worth going outside, especially during the New Moon week. Remember that sporadic meteors (not associated with a particular meteor shower) can be seen anytime!

Observers from the Southern Hemisphere can try to catch some “shooting stars” from the Alpha Centaurids. This minor meteor shower produces up to 6 meteors per hour during the peak. In 2024 the Alpha Centaurids reach their maximum near the New Moon, so observing conditions will be perfect. Don't miss this great opportunity to observe a lesser-known meteor shower!

Comets in February 2024

As we mentioned last month, the short-period comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is expected to be one of the best comets of 2024. It's currently brightening on its way to perihelion on April 21, 2024. In February, according to COBS forecast, it will have a magnitude of 9-8 and, therefore, will be visible with medium-size binoculars. Since the exact magnitude of comets is difficult to predict, keep an eye on 12P/Pons-Brooks as it may become brighter. You can find it in the sky using the Sky Tonight app.

The short-period comet 62P/Tsuchinshan reached its maximum brightness in January 2024 and is now moving away from the Earth. Although it rises higher in the morning sky this month, its magnitude is fading. With a magnitude of about 8.7 at the beginning of February, it'll diminish by about one magnitude by the end of the month. In March, it probably won't be visible with amateur optics.

The short-period comet C/2021 S3 (PanSTARRS) will reach perihelion on February 14, 2024, and make its closest approach to the Earth the following month, on March 14. The comet should be brightest around February 28. According to the most optimistic predictions, it will be about magnitude 7 at that time. Less positive forecasts say the comet will be around magnitude 10 all month. Try to catch C/2021 S3 (PanSTARRS) with medium-sized binoculars.

How to navigate the night sky?

You can easily identify sky objects using the Sky Tonight app. Launch the app and point your device up; the app will show you the interactive sky map for your location. Tap the big blue button in the lower right corner of your screen to turn on the AR mode; it will overlay the sky map on the real sky image from your camera.

Celestial events in February 2024: Bottom Line

While the month of February 2024 may not be filled with prominent stargazing events, it does offer a great opportunity to see the Moon meeting each of the Solar System's planets individually. Also, Venus and Mars will make their closest approach this year, and the year's first micromoon will grace the night sky. Take every opportunity to get out and witness these astronomical phenomena. Learn about what to expect this year in terms of stargazing in our infographic.

Best astronomy events 2024 preview
Discover the most anticipated space events of 2024. Unforgettable experiences are on the horizon!
See Infographic

We wish you clear skies and happy stargazing!