Only two planets are visible this month: Jupiter is near the orange star, Aldebaran, and Saturn follows near the blue star, Spica. The Moon pursues its course across the sky, passing close to the two giant planets and a few bright winter stars…
The Sun’s glare prevents us from seeing Mercury and Venus, which are presently too close to the horizon during dusk and dawn, respectively. Mercury sets shortly after the Sun, while Venus appears a bit before sunrise. And so, our attention turns to the two giant gaseous planets, Saturn and Jupiter.
Looking southward on the first of the month, two hours before sunrise, you’ll find a celestial trio consisting of the waning gibbous Moon, Saturn and Spica, the brightest star in Virgo. Spica (the name comes the Latin, spicum, which means "spike of wheat") is easy to find: Just follow the curve of the Big Dipper’s handle past Arcturus, the bright orange star in Boötes, and then "spike" down to Spica.
Without doubt, the second half of the night belongs to Saturn. On the morning of February 3, the last quarter Moon will pass beneath the ringed planet, located in Libra — a constellation that, unfortunately, consists of relatively faint stars. You’ll have to wait until summer for Saturn to re-join Spica: the planet will then be visible just after sunset among the somewhat brighter stars of Virgo.
Throughout February, at sunset, Jupiter can be seen high in the south in Taurus. The giant planet shines 20 times brighter than the constellation’s principal star, Aldebaran, an orange giant that represents the “angry bull’s” fiery eye. Aldebaran is the thirteenth brightest star in the sky: It gets its name from the Arabic al dabaran, which means “the follower,” since it follows the Pleiades star cluster across the heavens.
The first quarter Moon joins Jupiter, Aldebaran and the Pleiades on the evenings of February 17 and 18. Two days later, on February 20, the gibbous Moon will be at the feet of Gemini, below the constellation’s “twin” stars, Pollux and Castor, thereby providing an opportunity for the celestial twins to exercise their legs by playing a game of soccer with the Moon!
On February 24, the nearly full Moon will be close to the bright star, Regulus, in Leo. Regulus means "little king" in Latin; a fitting name since it represents the heart of the lion, king of beasts. In fact, Regulus is a triple star, though Regulus A, the group’s main star, is the only one visible to the naked eye.
Winding up the month, on February 28, if you look to the south after 10:30 P.M., you’ll see the rising Moon less that two degrees from Spica, in the constellation of Virgo.