Astronomy Events – January 2012January 1, 2012
And so another year is upon us and the stars march ever onwards! We had a pretty good year in 2011, highlighting some great heavenly happenings and capturing some images we’ve been proud of.
Eager to start off on the right foot in 2012, here are some upcoming astronomy events for January to inspire your own astronomical ambitions!
Sunday 1st January – First quarter Moon and start of the Quadrantids meteor shower
Monday 2nd January - Moon at Apogee (404,580 km). The waxing crescent Moon will appear close to Jupiter in the evening sky, can you get any photos? If so, why don’t you tweet them to us @sky_watching!?
Tuesday 3rd January – The Quadrantids meteor shower (1st-6th January) reaches it’s peak this evening (actually early morning on 4th), with up to 120 meteors per hour predicted. Meteors can appear anywhere in the sky but the radiant guide below can help give you a starting point for meteor watching
Wednesday 4th January – The Jovian moons (Ganymede and Europa) will cast shadows on Jupiter’s surface this evening, as they follow each other across the giant planetary disk
Thursday 5th January – Earth at perihelion (nearest position to the Sun) at a distance of 91.3 million miles (147 million km)
Monday 9th January – Tonight’s Full Moon rises at just before 17:00 UTC/GMT so it’s in the sky all night long
Friday 13th January - The red planet Mars crosses the sky close to the waning gibbous Moon this evening. With Mars being visible at a more generally accessible time in January we’re hoping to get some good images of it!
Monday 16th January – Last quarter Moon which is absent from the night sky until around 02:00 UTC/GMT, so a good evening for early night stargazing
Tuesday 17th January - Moon at Perigee (369,880 km), the closest point in its orbit to the Earth
Monday 23rd January - New Moon today closely follows the Sun across the sky, so it’s another good evening for night sky-watching (provided your skies are clear!)
Thursday 26th January – The waxing crescent Moon passes close to Venus providing a nice spectacle in the evening twilight sky. A good target for those with a DSLR camera
Monday 30th January - Moon at Apogee (404,325 km), the furthest point of its orbit from the Earth
Planets visible this month:
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