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The Moon

The Moon In January

There is no moonless evening time viewing in the first half of January 2020. The moon will be in the evening sky from New Year’s Day until mid month. It’s only after 15th January where will we’ll enjoy moon-free evenings all the way to midnight.

First quarter is on the second day of the month, so you’ll need to recover quickly from New Year celebrations to make the most of that. However, if you carry out your astronomy in the early hours of the morning, then the last 10 days of January are perfect for you. Full moon is on the 10th of the month which means that the second week in January is the worst of all worlds.

If you are planning a deep sky object hunt this month, I would delay it until the second half of this first month of 2020.

Moon Phases, Rise & Set Times

Whether you are planning to observe the moon, or you want to make sure to avoid it, use the table below to discover when the moon will be above the horizon in January. The ‘Illumination’ column shows how bright it is going to be – the higher the %, the brighter the moon.

Moon Table Notes

  • A=Apogee (furthest approach), P=Perigee (closest approach), FQ=First Quarter, LQ=Last Quarter
  • All times are for Kansas City (DST). However, these times will be approximately accurate for your local time zone wherever you are in the northern hemisphere. For example, if you live in London, UK, the moonrise and set times will be no more than an hour different from those shown in the table above.
  • There are two moonrise columns in the table, this is because each day is timed from midnight to midnight. On some days in the month the moon is already in the sky at midnight, therefore it sets first before rising again later in the day. On other days, the moon is below the horizon at midnight. On those days it rises first before setting later in the day.
  • This table is available as a downloadable PDF in the Printables section.
  • The data in the table comes from timeanddate.com

Visualization Of The Moon’s Impact

The following chart shows a visualisation of when the moon is above the horizon and below. This should make it easier for you to plan which nights offer the darkest skies and which provide the best opportunity for observing the moon itself.

First & Last Quarter Moon Locations

The two pictures below from SkySafari 6 show the first quarter moon at 11pm on January 02nd and the last quarter moon at 5am on 17th January. Click on the pictures for full screen versions.

First Quarter Moon – Click for full screen
Last Quarter Moon – Click for full screen