To temporarily replace the guide to what is in the night sky on our Stargazing evenings, here are some of the things you can see on clear nights during January.
When I air draw the constellations it is as though I am looking at the night sky in front of me so you will need to reverse the virtual drawing: Alpheratz is the top left hand corner of the square.
This video was recorded in November but these constellations can still be seen in January. To update you on the times that you can see the constellations please see the list below:
Great Square of Pegasus (and the signpost to Andromeda): Due South at 5pm at the beginning of the month so already at its highest in the sky when the Sun sets. Due south by 3pm (15:00; before sunset) at the end of the month. Pegasus starts to set below the western horizon by the end of the month at about 9pm (21:00) with the Andromeda galaxy following behind and setting by about 2am (02:00).
Pleidaes Cluster (the Seven Sisters): Already in the east at sunset and reaching its highest point due south by about 8.45pm (20:45) at the beginning of the month and by 7pm (19:00) at the end of the month.
Orion and Gemini: Rising around the same time as the Sun sets at the beginning of the month (about 4pm) and already in the sky by sunset at the end of the month. Orion and Gemini are due south at 10.30pm (22:30) and 11.30pm (23:30) respectively at the beginning of the month and at 9pm (21:00) and 10pm (22:00) respectively at the end of the month.
Sirius in Canis Major: Rising at 7.15pm (19:15) at the beginning of the month and by 5.45pm (17:45) by the end of the month. Directly due south at 11.45pm (23:45) at the beginning of the month and by 10pm (22:00) at the end of the month.
Capella in Auriga: directly due south at about 8pm (20:00) by the end of the month.
For a map of the January sky see Astronomy Now
Here is a list of the objects that you might want to look out for in January. There are 4 planets visible to naked eye this month (3 in the evening and one in the morning before sunrise). This is at the beginning of the month but it is all change by the end of the month. Rather than logging their rise and set times every day they have been logged every week. Please note that the rise and set times are for Herstmonceux. Planets will rise at different times at different latitudes in the UK. If you are an early bird then you will spot the brightest planet, Venus which can be seen in the pre-dawn sky.
Look out for the planets rising earlier and earlier each evening. The links take you to the astronomy glossary which will give you further information. There are no visible passes of the ISS occurring during January.
Likewise for the Moon and Sun, rise times will be different for different latitudes see Time and Date for rise and set times for different locations.
|Date||What will I see?|
Sunset at 16:02
Earth at Perihelion
Peak of the Quadrantids meteor shower: Range 28 December -12 January; Peak 3/4 January. Radiant from the constellation Bootes. Originates from Asteroid 2003 EH1 OR from Comet C/1490Y1. these may be one and the same object.
Last Quarter Moon: rose on 5th January at 23:42 and sets at 11:53. Sunset 16:08.
Sunset at 16:09
Conjunction of Mercury and Saturn.
Conjunction of Jupiter and Mercury.
New Moon: rises at 08:37 and sets 16:24. Sunset 16:18.
First Quarter Moon: Rises at 11:12 and sets at 00:51 on the 21 January.
Greatest Eastern Elongation of Mercury and the best time to see the planet in the evening this year. Mercury will be visible after sunset in the southwest but only 7 degrees above the horizon. It sets at 18:14. Sun sets at 16:36 so you need to be looking very soon after sunset.
Solar conjunction of Saturn. Saturn is now lost behind the Sun from our line of sight from Earth.
Full Moon: Rises at 07:44 and sets at 16:43.
Jupiter at solar conjunction. Jupiter is now lost behind the Sun from our line of sight from Earth.
Oops! Betelgeuse is seen at the top left of the constellation Orion but this corresponds to his right shoulder not his left shoulder.
You can still look for some of these constellations through into January.