The moon and Saturn are the main attractions in the night sky for February.


We have a lunar eclipse and a great view of Saturn.

I'm Jane Houston Jones at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The lunar eclipse that happens this month on the 20th of February can be seen really well from all parts of the United States.

If you live on the west coast, you'll start to see the eclipse at about quarter to six p.m.

The shadow of Earth crosses the moon and the moon darkens. It doesn't go away, it doesn't turn really dark black, it turns kind of a reddish hue.

And it'll take a little over an hour to reach the full shadow, which is called the total eclipse.

You won't need a telescope to view this but if you do look at the moon through a telescope, you'll be able to see individual craters and other features go in and out of the shadows.

Ancient astronomers or sky watchers looked up at an eclipse and they saw a curved shadow and that told them something about our solar system.

On the 24th of February, Saturn reaches opposition. Saturn and the sun are on opposite sides of Earth.

This means that Saturn is closer to Earth and it appears a little bit larger in the sky.

It'll look like a golden, starry glow.

And through a telescope, what you'll see is not only the planet but you'll see the rings.

You'll be able to see several moons as well.

The Cassini spacecraft is right there at the Saturn system taking images and measurements of Saturn and its moons and its rings.

That's all for this month, I'm Jane Houston Jones.

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