BEST TIME TO SEE: 29 February, 01:00 UT ALTITUDE: 42º LOCATION: Leo DIRECTION: South Jupiter is a morning object that culminates (reaches its highest point due south) in darkness all month. It hovers around mag. –2.5 through February and is located close to mag. +4.1 Sigma Leonis, the star marking the back paw of Leo. Any scope will show details such as the two dark belts that run parallel to the equator, while a 4-inch or larger instrument will reveal the famous Great Red Spot. The other highlights are the four Galilean moons, which dance around the planet’s globe. Occasionally they appear to transit the planet’s disc, accompanied by their shadows – see page 51 for details of a double moonshadow transit on the 29th. Venus is a brilliant morning object that is getting harder to see as it slowly creeps towards the Sun. A lovely conjunction between mag. 0.0 Mercury, –3.9 Venus and a 6%-lit waning crescent Moon can be seen in the dawn twilight, low in the southeast on 6 February. Through a scope, Venus shows an 11-arcsecond disc, 85% lit on 1 February, increasing to 90% lit by 29 February. 29 February, 05:15 UT ALTITUDE: 14º LOCATION: Ophiuchus DIRECTION: South-southeast Saturn is a morning planet struggling for altitude. It sits in the southern part of Ophiuchus, its yellow-hued dot shining away at mag. +0.5. It’s certainly worth grabbing a view of Saturn through a telescope if you can because the rings are now very wide open as the planet approaches its solstice position next year. Also look out for the pattern formed by Saturn, Mars, mag. +1.0 Antares (Alpha (_) Scorpii) and a 66%-lit waning gibbous Moon on the 29th. Using a small scope you’ll be able to spot Jupiter’s biggest moons. Their positions change dramatically during the month, as shown on the diagram. The line by each date on the left represents 00:00 UT.