First, a confession: I mispoke in January's column when I said that the evening stars were the brightest objects in Earth's sky. Actually, our own sun is the brightest star in the sky, and the moon is the second brightest but not a star.


February also features most of the brightest stars. Venus is by far the most brilliant evening "star," with Jupiter (in Aries) almost as bright. Saturn (in Virgo near the star Spica) and Mars (in Leo) remain morning "stars" for the present, but will "migrate" to the evening in the next two months.


The "swatch" of the Milky Way stretches from south south-east to north north-west all month. If you examine Canis Major (the big dog), Canis Minor (the little dog) and Orion (the mighty hunter) with binoculars, one can make out a lot of nebulosities. Other notable constellations this month are Gemini (the twins), Cancer (the crab) and Leo (the lion).


Feb. 29 occurs only once every four years. This year's Leap Year Day advances the calendar, causing the seasons to start earlier than any year since 1896. More on this as the year continues.