BEST TIME IN FEBRUARY: 28 February, 18:00 UT ALTITUDE: 22º LOCATION: Pisces DIRECTION: West-southwest The appearance of Venus is improving with each passing day. It’s now visible after sunset low in the west-southwest. At around mag –4.0, it shines clearly even through bright twilight. If you can get a view of it through a scope, Venus shows a large gibbous phase, its illumination falling from 92% on the 1st to 86% on the 28th. The disc is quite small for Venus, growing from 11 to 12 arcseconds during the month. Between the 19th and 23rd Venus and mag. +1.3 Mars have a close encounter that is easy to spot (see page 51).