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Astronomy Events – April 2014

March 31, 2014

by yaska77

British Summer Time is now in effect, giving us lighter evenings and signalling the approach of actual summertime :)

April is a good month for garden astronomers, the warmer evenings allow for longer use of scopes and cameras without as much annoyance from dew and lens fogging (or general freezing!) but it’s still getting dark early enough to get some good observing in before bed!

So with a meteor shower towards the end of the month it’s as good a time as ever to get kids into appreciating the wonders of the night sky.  Today’s enthusiastic children are tomorrow’s astronomers, scientists and astronauts!

As usual then we’ve listed some astronomical events of interest for the coming month, so pick out some observing opportunities and keep watching the skies!

Wednesday 2nd April - Planet Uranus is in conjunction with the Sun today and is unobservable throughout April

Thursday 3rd April - The waxing crescent Moon is a close visitor in Taurus soon after sunset this evening as shown below

Shown due West at 21:00 UTC (22:00 BST) the waxing crescent Moon should be exhibiting Earthshine! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown due West at 21:00 UTC (22:00 BST) the waxing crescent Moon should be exhibiting Earthshine! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

With such a thin crescent you should be able to see some Earthshine affecting the Moon’s surface! This creates a nice effect so it’s worth trying to capture it in some photos if you have a DSLR

Earthshine happens when light reflected from the surface of the Earth illuminates the dark side allowing us to see details (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Earthshine happens when light reflected from the surface of the Earth illuminates the dark side allowing us to see details (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Monday 7th April - The Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase this evening

Tuesday 8th April - Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 404,500 km (251,345 miles) the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth

Red planet Mars is also at Opposition in Virgo this evening, so rises at sunset and sets at sunrise

We’ve yet to target Mars with our CCD camera (and variety of coloured filter lenses) so if the skies are favourable we may give it a proper go, especially as dark martian surface feature Syrtis Major Planum should be visible around midnight, providing a good contrast in surface colours to try and capture in the image

The only images we've managed to take of Mars so far have been wide angle shots (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The only images we’ve managed to get of Mars so far have been wide angle shots like this one taken on 9th March 2014 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Tuesday 15th April - The Full Moon in the sky today is also sometimes known as the Flower Moon, Seed Moon or Awakening Moon, but also commonly as the Paschal Full Moon

Easter Sunday always immediately follows the Paschal Full Moon (which we imaged in April 2011) so perhaps we should call it the Bunny Moon or Egg Moon?!

Taken using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR mounted to a SkyWatcher Explorer 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

This shot of a Paschal Full Moon from 2011 was taken using a Canon EOS 550D DSLR, mounted to a SkyWatcher Explorer 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The Moon will also experience a total lunar eclipse visible over east Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific and North and South America

It will enter the penumbral shadow at 00:35 and the umbral shadow at 05:58. Totality will last for 1 hour 18 minutes, between 07:07 and 08:25 with the moon leaving the umbral shadow at 09:38 and the penumbral shadow at 10:38 (all times UTC)

This map shows at a glance where on the planet the lunar eclipse will be visible - Credit: Fred Espenak (NASA GSFC)

This map shows at a glance where on the planet the lunar eclipse will be visible (click to enlarge) – Credit: Fred Espenak (NASA GSFC)

Wednesday 16th April - Continuing our recent addition to this guide, below we’ve provided constellation guides for Southern and Northern skies in April, shown below at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST).  These can help you identify the spring constellations you can see in April

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th April, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC (01:00 BST) on 16th April, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in April (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in April (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Monday 21st April – This evening is the peak of the annual Lyrid meteor shower, whose shooting stars appear to emanate from the constellation Lyra (see below for our radiant guide)

Best viewed late evening and early morning on the 22nd April before the Moon rises, you should also catch some Tuesday evening as well!

While the meteors will appear to emanate from Lyra, they can appear all over the sky (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

While the meteors will appear to emanate from Lyra they can appear all over the sky, seen streaking away from the radiant position. Shown above at 23:00 UTC (00:00 BST) to the East (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Tuesday 22nd April - This morning the Moon is seen at Last Quarter phase

Wednesday 23rd April - The crescent Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 369,765 km (229,761 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

Saturday 26th April - Mercury is in Superior Conjunction

Tuesday 29th April - The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

An annular solar eclipse also occurs today, which is when the Moon’s apparent diameter appears smaller than the Sun’s, blocking most of the Sun’s light and causing the Sun to look like an annulus or ring. Sadly on this occasion only a partial eclipse will be visible from parts of Antarctica and Australia

As usual, if you take any photos throughout April you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! :)

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – March 2014
Astronomy Events – February 2014
Astronomy Events – January 2014

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Getting back into the swing of things…

March 13, 2014

by yaska77

Who’d have thought it!?  I’ve actually been outside with my telescope and finally got some fresh images to share!  Now, in my defence the wet and sodden Winter caused my garage door to seize shut with my telescope mount inside, making it impossible to use my scope for months (and my wife refused to stand outside in the cold for hours on end holding a 3 foot long telescope steady) but a week of dry weather finally allowed me to get back outdoors!

If you’re planning a night of observing I always find it beneficial to scan some astro software beforehand (our favourite is Stellarium) so you can pick out some specific targets.  As I knew the Moon would be setting early morning I looked ahead to see what deep sky objects would be visible to the East after midnight, as that direction offers the darkest patch of sky visible from my garden.

Early Sunday 9th March there were two star clusters I was eager to image! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Early Sunday 9th March there were two star clusters I was eager to image, shown above at 00:30 UTC (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

My first port of call was M5 (also designated NGC 5904) which is a globular cluster in the constellation Serpens. Accurately aligning my telescope is pretty difficult due to Polaris not being visible from my garden (the house is in the way) but I can usually set it up well enough to avoid too much image drift.

Thankfully the sky was dark enough to locate the cluster through the finder scope, and once I had it centre of the camera frame it was fairly easy to keep it there!

This image is the result of stacking 150 individual shots, a method that always brings out clearer detail (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

This image of M5 is the result of stacking 150 individual shots, a method that always brings out clearer detail (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

I’d almost forgotten the tangible thrill you can experience when you first see the final result of the image stacking. There are far more stars visible in the image above than in the single photos alone.

With the morning wearing on it was time to locate my second target, another cluster this time located in the constellation Hercules.

Also known as the Hercules Globular Cluster, M13 contains around 300,000 stars (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Also known as the Hercules Globular Cluster, M13 contains around 300,000 stars. This image was created by stacking 120 individual shots (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

I’ve wanted to image the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules (M13) for years now, so I’m pleased to finally have captured it.  And given the above images were shot on an evening with slight haze I’m hoping another look on a completely clear evening may provide even better images!

Overall (considering how long it’s been since I had my scope set up and working properly) I’m very happy with the evening’s results.  It’s re-ignited my desire to both ogle and photograph similar beautiful astronomical objects at every opportunity, and with big plans afoot for Sky-Watching.co.uk you can rest assured the posts and photos will start appearing again with increasing regularity.

There, I’ve written it down on the internet now, so now we have to do it!

Keep watching the skies friends :)

Images captured using:

Sky-Watcher Explorer 200P EQ5 PRO SynScan 200mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope
Unmodified Canon EOS 550D (with T-Ring)
Intervalometer
DeepSkyStacker Software

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Astronomy Events – March 2014

February 28, 2014

by yaska77

The weather is turning! It must be by now!? After the wettest (and probably windiest) winter on record in the UK karma best be ready to give us an amazing Spring!!

The layer of dust currently sitting on our telescopes could be used to insulate a small home.

So we’re eager for some dry, clear and wind-free evenings to get back into observing and imaging our skies. Thankfully you can always be sure someone has a good view of the night sky, so we’re enjoying keeping up with fellow enthusiasts like us on Twitter, because there are images aplenty to at least temporarily satiate our passion for astronomy!

However, to help keep you inspired we’ve noted below some points of astronomical interest for the upcoming calendar month. Keep watching the skies!

Saturday 1st March - The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

There is a second New Moon at the end of the month

Monday 3rd March - Ringed planet Saturn reaches stationary point today, and will now be in retrograde motion where it appears to move contrary to it’s usual course across the sky

Brightening slightly by the end of the month, Saturn is always one of the most beautiful sights to see if you have a telescope or good pair of binoculars

Despite its attraction we've not managed to image Saturn all that often, so we're hoping for another go at imaging it over March (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Despite its attraction we’ve not managed to image Saturn all that often, so we’re hoping for another go at it over March (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Friday 7th March - Orange giant star Aldebaran (part of the constellation Taurus) is visited closely by the Moon this evening, which sits nicely in the middle of the Hyades cluster (to the south west) directly to the right of Orion

Moon and Aldebaran 21.00 UTC 07032014 Sky-Watching.co.uk

The Moon makes a close visit to Aldebaran and the Hyades cluster this evening. Shown above at 21:00 UTC to the WSW (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 8th March - The Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase this evening

Tuesday 11th March - Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 405,365 km (251,882 miles) the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth

Friday 14th March - Mercury is at Greatest Western Elongation today, however the planet is too close to the Sun this month for any meaningful observation from our latitudes

Sunday 16th March - The Full Moon in the sky tonight is also sometimes known as the Fish Moon, Sleepy Moon or Chaste Moon

And continuing our recent addition to this guide, below we’ve provided constellation guides for Southern and Northern skies in March!

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th March, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 16th March, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in March (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in March (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Thursday 20th March - Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (also known as the Vernal Equinox)

Saturday 22nd March - Venus is at Greatest Western Elongation this morning, meaning the bright planet can be seen rising before sunrise

Monday 24th March – This morning the Moon is seen at Last Quarter phase

Thursday 27th March - The crescent Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 365,705 km (227,239 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth, and appears very close to Venus in the early hours this morning

Shown below at 05:00 UTC, look low down towards the Eastern horizon

The waning crescent Moon appears very close to Venus in the early morning sky, shown at 05:00 UTC (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The waning crescent Moon appears very close to Venus in the early morning sky, shown above at 05:00 UTC (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Sunday 30th March - British Summer Time begins in the UK, and the clocks go forward 1 hour from 01:00 GMT/UTC to 02:00 BST

And the second New Moon of the month makes this another good time to observe galaxies and nebulae with the Moon out of the way!

As usual, if you take any photos throughout March you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Uranus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! :)

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – February 2014
Astronomy Events – January 2014
Astronomy Events – December 2013

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Astronomy Events – February 2014

January 31, 2014

by yaska77

Well January seems to have passed in a flash! Unfortunately the much reported terrible weather we’ve had in Britain has meant we’ve been afforded no chance whatsoever to get any astronomy done, and have had to content ourselves with a triple dose of Stargazing LIVE and images sent to us on Twitter.

There are quite a few events in February that we’d like a close look at however, so we’re praying for some dry weather and clear skies to enable us to get back outdoors and reacquaint ourselves with the beauty of the heavens!

Below we’ve noted some astronomical points of interest for you to pick through, so get outside and keep watching the skies!

Saturday 1st February - Jovian moon Ganymede transits the disc of Jupiter this evening, which should provide a great sight through a telescope

Beginning around 19:00 UTC it will exit the planet’s limb around 22:10 UTC

Through a telescope Ganymede will be clearly visible crossing the disc of Jupiter, shown at 21:00 UTC (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Through a telescope Ganymede will be clearly visible crossing the disc of Jupiter, shown above at 21:00 UTC on 1st February 2014 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

And as a second treat the shadow of Ganymede will then appear on the surface of Jupiter just as the moon itself moves off the disc

Sunday 2nd February - If you have good binoculars or a telescope and look due south at 21:30 this evening (just to the left of Betelgeuse the bright orange star at the top left of Orion) you’ll find the Rosette Nebula and open cluster NGC 2244

We’ve managed to image this faint but beautiful object only once before, so should conditions prove favourable (especially with the Moon setting earlier in the evening affording darker skies) we’re hoping to give it another go to try attain even more clarity to the dark dust lanes you can see in our image below

The stars of the open cluster shine brightly, surrounded by the gas and dust that make up the Rosette Nebula (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

The stars of the open cluster NGC 2244 shine brightly, surrounded by the gas and dust that make up the Rosette Nebula, taken in early 2012 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Thursday 6th February - This evenings Moon can be seen at First Quarter phase

Wednesday 12th February - Today the Moon is at Apogee at a distance of 406,230 km (252,420 miles) the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth

Friday 14th February - The Full Moon in the sky tonight is also sometimes known as the Trapper’s Moon, Budding Moon or Storm Moon

And continuing our recent addition to this guide, below we’ve provided constellation guides for Southern and Northern skies in February!

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th February, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 15th February - Hot planet Mercury is in Inferior Conjunction today (and will be unobservable until later in the month when it will become visible as a morning object) and Venus attains greatest brilliancy at mag -4.7 and will appear in a crescent phase if viewed through a telescope

Wednesday 19th February - This evening the waning gibbous Moon passes just 4° south of Mars, and forms a neat triangle with the star Spica which is part of the constellation Virgo

Rising around 22:30 UTC our guide image above shows its location in the sky at 01:00 UTC on 20th February (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Rising around 22:30 UTC our guide image above shows the location of Mars and the Moon in the sky at 01:00 UTC on 20th February (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Saturday 22nd February – Tonight the Moon is at Last Quarter phase

Sunday 23rd February - Planet Neptune is in Conjunction with the Sun today and is unobservable throughout February

Wednesday 26th FebruaryVenus and the crescent Moon traverse the predawn sky as close companions when they rise around 05:00 UTC this morning, and should look great if you can get an image through a telescope!  We’ll certainly be trying to get some photos!

The crescent Moon and bright planet Venus will provide a great target for some photography this morning, if the weather will behave! (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

The crescent Moon and bright planet Venus will provide a great target for some photography this morning, if the weather will behave! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Thursday 27th February - The Moon is at Perigee today at a distance of 360,440 km (223,967 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

As usual, if you take any photos throughout February you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Uranus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! :)

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – January 2014
Astronomy Events – December 2013
Astronomy Events – November 2013

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Astronomy Events – January 2014

December 31, 2013

by yaska77

Happy New Year! Firstly, all of us at Sky-Watching would like to wish our visitors a very happy 2014! It’s because you keep visiting and reading our posts that we keep writing, and although weather and circumstance have been against us uploading more of our own images in 2013, we’re fresh faced and eager to get stuck into 2014.

Well, once the after effects of our celebrations have worn off and the weather has improved of course ;)

Don’t forget Series Four of Stargazing LIVE starts on BBC2 and BBC2 HD on Tuesday 7th January at 20:00. Running for three consecutive evenings (and following the now established format) the show will be a mix of studio demonstrations, video reports and amateur content and interaction.

Last year viewers of Stargazing Live! helped identify a new planet - Credit: BBC

Stargazing LIVE hosts Brian Cox and Dara O’Briain are ready to take us through three more evenings of astronomy related fun from Jodrell Bank Observatory. Begins Tuesday 7th January at 8pm on BBC2 and BBC2 HD – Credit: BBC

Followed immediately after by Stargazing LIVE: Back to Earth, the half hour after show with more discussion and content, if you can watch BBC2 where you are it’s three evenings of great space related viewing.

With that and all the other astral activities we’ve noted below for the whole month, get outside and get stargazing live!

Keep watching the skies!

Wednesday 1st January – The New Moon rises with (and sets just after) the Sun today, so now is a good time to observe deep sky objects when the skies are unaffected by moonlight

It is also at Perigee today at a distance of 356,920 km (221,780 miles), the closest point of its orbit to the Earth

Friday 3rd January - Mars is at Aphelion today, the furthest its orbit takes it away from the Sun

The first of the annual meteor showers peaks this evening. The Quadrantids have been known to peak with a ZHR of up to 80 meteors per hour. Thankfully today the Moon sets early so if your skies are clear enough it could be quite a show!

Shown low down to the NE at 23:00 UTC on 3rd January, the radiant is a good guide but you'll see meteors all over the sky! (Click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown low down to the NE at 23:00 UTC on 3rd January, the radiant is a good guide but you’ll see meteors all over the sky! (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Quadrantids are seen most often as blue or yellow streaks, and will be visible all over the sky from nightfall (with the peak around 19:00 UTC) appearing to emanate from the constellation Boötes to the north (see above for radiant guide)

Winter constellation Orion can also be found due south at 23:00, so if you’ve got some binoculars or a telescope you should be able to spot M42, the Orion Nebula, which is part of the sword on Orion’s belt

M42 the Orion Nebula is a great sight through binoculars or a small telescope (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

M42 the Orion Nebula is a great sight through binoculars or a small telescope (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Saturday 4th January - Our own dear planet Earth is at Perihelion today, the closest we come to the Sun at distance of 146.9 million km (91.3 million miles)

Sunday 5th January - Gas giant Jupiter is at opposition in the constellation Gemini today (rising at sunset and setting at sunrise) and will be observable all evening

Jupiter and moons (left to right: Callisto, Europa, Io and Ganymede) from 28th September 2011 - Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Jupiter and moons (left to right: Callisto, Europa, Io and Ganymede) from 28th September 2011 (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/A.Welbourn

Wednesday 8th January - This morning the Moon is seen at First Quarter phase

Saturday 11th January - Bright planet Venus is in Inferior conjunction today, which happens when a planet that is within our orbit passes between the Earth and the Sun. If your horizons are flat enough you could catch Venus both just after sunset on the 10th and again just before sunrise on 11th

Tuesday 14th January - The Moon and Jupiter appear as near neighbours in the sky this evening. Shown below at 23:00 looking due south, even with the glare from the Moon the gas giant will be visible

Jupiter and the near Full Moon pay each other a close visit in the night sky on 14th January (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Jupiter and the near Full Moon pay each other a close visit in the night sky on 14th January, shown above at 23:00 UTC (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Wednesday 15th January - Continuing our latest addition to this guide, below we’ve provided constellation guides for Southern and Northern skies in January!

January Southern Sky Northern Hemisphere

Shown at 00:00 UTC on 15th January, both these images are a handy guide for the whole month. This is the view you’ll get looking south (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

January Northern Sky Northern Hemisphere

Displaying the night sky midway through the month, this image can help you identify the constellations you’ll see in the northern sky in January (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Thursday 16th January - The Full Moon in the sky this morning is also sometimes known as the Winter Moon, Holiday Moon or Ice Moon

It also appears at Apogee at a distance of 406,535 km (252,609 miles), the furthest point out in its orbit around the Earth

Saturday 18th January - Regulus, which is part of the constellation Leo, is paid a close visit by the waning gibbous Moon this evening

Waning gibbous Moon and Regulus are seen close by this evening, shown above at 23:00 UTC (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Waning gibbous Moon and Regulus are seen close by this evening, shown above at 23:00 UTC (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Friday 24th January - The morning Moon appears at Last Quarter phase today

Saturday 25th January - Ringed planet Saturn is visible close by the waning crescent Moon this evening

Shown at 23:00 UTC on 25th January, Saturn appears close to our Moon this evening (click to enlarge) - Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Shown at 23:00 UTC on 25th January, Saturn appears close to our Moon this evening (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

Thursday 30th January - The second New Moon of the month makes the end of January another good time to observe the fainter deep sky objects that pepper our sky!

Friday 31st January - Our Sun’s closest planet Mercury is at Greatest Eastern Elongation today, appearing low down to the West at sunset if your horizon is low enough. As an extra treat, you might just catch the faintest sliver of waxing crescent Moon into the bargain

Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation

Shown low down to the WSW at 17:25 UTC, if your horizon is flat enough you should catch a glimpse of Mercury near the thin sliver of crescent Moon (click to enlarge) – Credit: Sky-Watching/Stellarium

As usual, if you take any photos throughout January you’d like to show us, please tweet them to us using the link below! We’d love to see your efforts!

Planets visible this month:

Jupiter
Venus
Neptune
Uranus
Mars
Mercury
Saturn

Remember, it can take your eyes up to 20 minutes to become properly dark adapted, and anything up to an hour for a telescope to reach ambient temperature outside (to ensure the best image), so give yourself plenty of time to get set up!

To make it easier to find this list of astronomical happenings you can also locate it in the “Monthly Guide” section in the menu bar to the right. Handy! :)

Guide images created with Stellarium

Archive:
Astronomy Events – December 2013
Astronomy Events – November 2013
Astronomy Events – October 2013

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