Skywatch: Shooting stars, planetary conjunctions and brighter days


The brand new 12 months begins with Mars and the moon in bustle Capturing stars In early January, the planetary double Venus And the Saturn Making ready for a month late collectively. Oh – and the times are getting brighter.

Because the night time section begins, LandThe reddish neighbor is seen at a magnitude of -1.1, good and brilliant, in keeping with the US Naval Observatory. You will discover it ascending to the japanese sky after sundown. On the night time of January 3, the reddish level of Mars will likely be above the gibbous Moon within the constellation. the Bull. Different components of the world – southern components of Africa, for instance – will see a Moon occultation (Opacified) Mars, in keeping with the Worldwide Cloud Timing Affiliation, or IOTA. Washington is not going to see it.

Throughout January, Mars will turn into much less brilliant from our Earthly perspective, dropping to -0.3 magnitude, in keeping with the observatory. On the night time of January 30-31, we are going to see one other shut encounter between Mars and the Moon. Ghazi in Washington will not be seen unseen, however locations farther south — like Florida — will likely be seen after midnight on Jan. 31, in keeping with IOTA.

Jupiter The New Yr begins prominently within the southern sky at sundown. You will discover this massive gaseous planet within the constellation Pisces at -2.4 (very brilliant) now, and wanes all through January to -2.2. The younger moon – about 4 days later – makes its closest method to Jupiter on the night of January twenty fifth.

The planets Venus and Saturn aren’t really that shut, however because of our Earth angle, they appear to be fairly social within the early night western sky. Tonight, our neighboring planet Venus (within the constellation Capricorn) after sundown within the southwest at magnitude -3.9 (very brilliant), in keeping with the observatory. Additionally in Capricorn, Saturn is +0.8 levels (seen however not fairly as brilliant).

Over the following three weeks, Venus and Saturn appear to be changing into friendlier. It conjunct on January 22, very low within the western sky simply after sundown. On January 23, a really younger moon sliver spied above and to the left of Venus and Saturn. Then the planets have house between them.

It’s normally robust Quadruple meteors The height is on the night time of January 3-4, in keeping with the American Meteor Society. The disturbing information is that the beloved moon will likely be greater than 90 p.c illuminated as our lunar companion turns into full on January 6. The neighborhood expects 120 meteors per hour in the course of the brief peak, however they’re setting your expectations low, as there are prone to be a lot fewer later within the night (January 3) and after midnight (January 4).

The brand new 12 months is — fairly actually — getting brighter, as Washington now enjoys 9 hours and half-hour of daylight on January 1, in keeping with the US Naval Observatory. By including a minute or two of daylight per day, the illumination begins to extend. By January thirty first, we are going to see 10 hours and 13 minutes of daylight.

* January 14 – Guided by museum workers, word the solar Safely by way of a correctly filtered telescope for “Second Saturday Sungazing” on the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Heart of the Nationwide Air and House Museum in Chantilly. 11 am – 2 pm Free admission to the museum. Parking $15.

* January 14 – “Think about the surfaces of distant stars,” a chat by Kenneth Carpenter, mission scientist at NASA’s Goddard House Flight Heart, on the common on-line assembly of astronomers within the nationwide capital. It can clarify how ground-based and space-based observatories contribute to our understanding of the surfaces of stars exterior our solar. 7:30 p.m. To enter the location, go to:

* January 28 – Take a telescopic tour of a starry midwinter sky on the Udvar-Hazy Heart on the Nationwide Air and House Museum in Chantilly, Virginia. Get pleasure from house walks with telescopes supplied by members of the Northern Virginia Astronomy Membership (NOVAC). Assembly on the museum bus cease, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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