Late February evenings are an amazing time to look at stars- but when is it not? The glory of Orion, so bright and bold, is easily seen high in the south. The brilliant gem star of Sirius gleams to the lower left.
Turn yourself west (to the right) and behold the shining planet Venus; the dimmer outpost we call Mars to the upper left; the striking Pleiades star cluster higher up. 
Turn to the right again and face north. Around 9 p.m., the Big Dipper is standing in the northeast, precariously on its handle. Look straight over to the northwest and see the M-shaped Cassiopeia constellation, almost on its side. Between them is the famed North Star, Polaris, which never seems to go anywhere.
Turn right once more and look east. Don’t be alarmed but the King of the Jungle, Leo the Lion is pouncing. This constellation, best seen due south in the evening hours in the spring, is now seen rising up. Its brightest star, Regulus leads the way.
Look straight up. The gleaming yellow star Capella is nearly at the zenith, the overhead point in the sky.
Look straight down. If you are outside in the yard, you are looking directly at the planet Earth, the third planet from the Sun. Among all the planets, this one is the easiest to find! No telescope or star chart is required.
This goes to show that no matter which way you look, whether all around you, straight up or straight down, you are in the midst of the grand Universe. You are literally a rider— a passenger — on one of the infinite number of celestial bodies populating the Cosmos.
As this spherical rock, almost 8,000 miles wide turns on its axis, the Earth carries you to new perspectives as the night sky appears to move past.
At about 7 p.m. in late February, Orion, identified easily by its trio of ”belt stars” within a tall rectangle of bright stars, is due south. Wait three hours; as the Earth takes you deeper into the night, Orion has shifted to the south-southwest. By midnight, Orion is getting ready to set behind the west-southwest horizon.
Meanwhile, during this time, the Big Dipper will have made its “grand leap” launching from the tip of its handle appearing high up in the north, its bowl stars upside down as if it were emptying its contents on the North Star below.
While you are out at midnight, take a look due south; Leo the Lion is now high up. In the east, the bright orange star Arcturus is prominent.
Also look for the brilliant, white planet Jupiter, in the southeast. In late February, Jupiter rises around 10 p.m. but you may need to wait a few hours if you have hills or trees.
The midnight sky you see in late February is the same sky you will see in mid-April around 9 p.m. One difference is the planets. They are constantly on the move, with respect to the stars. To keep up with where to see the planets (other than Earth), good sources include Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines.
New Moon is on February 26.
Keep looking up!

Peter Becker is Managing Editor at The News Eagle in Hawley, PA. Notes are welcome at news@neagle.com. Please mention in what newspaper or web site you read this column. Thank you to the two people who contacted me who read Looking Up in the Gainesville Sun (in Florida)!