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January’s Night Sky

Welcome to the third monthly guide to the night sky from the Virtual Astronomy Club. I hope you are finding these useful?

Would you drop me a line at adam@lovethenightsky.com and let me know what I can do to improve these monthly guides for you.

As usual, there are three observing challenges for you to undertake during January:

  • Challenge #1 is the penumbral lunar eclipse on 10 January
  • Challenge #2 will help you observe the planet Uranus while it’s in a great position to do
  • Challenge #3 is the hardest of the month – seeing the nebula around the stars of the Pleiades

From a planetary perspective, January is a quiet month. Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter have no visibility. At least Venus and Mars offer an improving picture, even if the red planet is too far away for us to see much.

The moon is most disruptive to evening astronomy in the first half of the month, but dark nights prevail from mid-month onwards. New moon is on the 24th of January, so the darkest nights of all fall in the two or three days either side of then.

We also have:

  • Moon data and brightness impact calendar [The Moon]
  • Planetary data, full screen finder images and observation guides [Planets]
  • Sky charts, both color and inverse monochrome for each hour of the month [Hourly Sky Charts]
  • The main events happening in December [Events]
  • Downloadable PDF calendars [Printables]

Have a fantastic time spying new sights at the start of this new decade and, until next month, Clear Skies!

Adam