Night Sky, January 2019: What You Can See This Month [Maps]

The evening sky tonight and on any clear evening provides an ever-changing show of fascinating objects you possibly can see, from stars and constellations to vibrant planets, usually the moon, and typically particular occasions like meteor showers. Observing the evening sky will be carried out with no particular gear, though a sky map will be very helpful, and newbie telescope or binoculars will improve some experiences and convey some in any other case invisible objects into view. You too can use astronomy equipment to make your observing simpler, and use our Satellite tv for pc Tracker web page powered by to seek out out when to see the Worldwide Area Station and different satellites. Under, discover out what’s up within the evening sky tonight (Planets Seen Now, Moon Phases, Observing Highlights This Month) plus different sources (Skywatching Phrases, Evening Sky Observing Suggestions and Additional Studying).

The evening sky is extra than simply the moon and stars, if you already know when and the place to look.

Month-to-month skywatching data is offered to by Chris Vaughan of Starry Evening Schooling, the chief in house science curriculum options. Observe Starry Evening on Twitter @StarryNightEdu.

Editor’s notice: If in case you have a tremendous skywatching photograph you’d wish to share for a potential story or picture gallery, you possibly can ship pictures and feedback in to

Yearly Evening Sky Guides:

When, The place and The best way to See the Planets within the 2018 Evening Sky

The Prime Skywatching Occasions to Search for in 2018

The Brightest Planets in December’s Evening Sky: The best way to See them (and When)

Greatest Evening Sky Occasions of December 2018 (Stargazing Maps) 

Tuesday, January 1 pre-dawn — Outdated Moon over Venus

Within the southeastern sky earlier than daybreak on Tuesday, January 1, the outdated moon’s slim crescent might be located 5 levels (a couple of palm’s width) to the higher proper of very vibrant Venus. Venus will rise after the moon, at about Four a.m. native time, after which the duo ought to stay seen whereas the daybreak sky brightens towards dawn at eight a.m. By the morning, the moon’s eastward orbital movement will carry it nearer to Venus, permitting sharp-eyed observers to identify Venus within the daytime utilizing the moon as a information.

Thursday, January three at 5:00 GMT — Earth at Perihelion

On Thursday, January three, the Earth will attain perihelion, its closest level to the solar for the yr. On that date our distance to the solar might be 91,403,554 miles (147,099,761 km). As winter-chilled Northern Hemisphere dwellers will attest, our every day temperatures aren’t managed by our proximity to the solar, however by the variety of hours of daylight we expertise. 

Thursday, January three pre-dawn — Very Outdated Moon meets Jupiter

Within the southeastern sky for an hour or so earlier than daybreak on Thursday, January three, the fragile sliver of the outdated moon might be positioned three levels to the left of Jupiter. The pair of objects will rise virtually concurrently at about 5:30 a.m. native time and might be seen collectively in binoculars (orange circle). 

Thursday, January three in a single day — Quadrantids Meteor Bathe Peak

Named for a now defunct constellation close to the north celestial pole known as the Mural Quadrant, the annual Quadrantid meteor bathe runs from December 30th to January 12th. This is among the most dependable showers of the yr, producing as much as 100 meteors per hour on the peak. Many are vibrant fireballs owing to the bathe’s supply, an asteroid designated 2003EH. The bathe will peak on Thursday night, whereas the Earth is traversing the thickest a part of the particles discipline, however one of the best time for viewing might be earlier than daybreak on Friday morning, when the bathe’s radiant might be excessive within the northeastern sky. The moon might be out of the evening sky on the bathe’s peak, enormously growing the variety of meteors one can see. 

Friday, January Four earlier than dawn — Practically New Moon above Mercury

Low within the east-southeastern sky shortly earlier than dawn on Friday, January Four, the very skinny crescent of the virtually new moon might be positioned 2.75 levels above Mercury. The perfect time to see the pair might be round 7:00-7:15 a.m. native time. 

Saturday, January 5 at eight:41 p.m. EST — New Moon and Partial Photo voltaic Eclipse

When at its new section, the moon is touring between Earth and the Sunday Since daylight can solely attain the aspect of the moon going through away from Earth, and the moon is in the identical area of the sky because the solar, our pure satellite tv for pc might be utterly hidden from view for a couple of day. This new moon will happen when the moon is near the ecliptic, producing a partial photo voltaic eclipse. The Moon’s shadow for this partial photo voltaic eclipse will first make contact with the Earth in Sichuan Province, China. It can then sweep north into jap Siberia and south via the Aleutian Islands earlier than ending the eclipse within the North Pacific Ocean. First contact will happen at zero:27 GMT on January 6. Biggest eclipse will happen close to Srednekolymsk at 01:41:28 GMT, at which period 71 % of the Solar’s diameter might be coated. Final contact will happen at 03:12 GMT. Correct photo voltaic filters might be required to view any of this eclipse in individual. For these watching on-line, the eclipse will run from 7:27 pm EST to 10:12 pm EST on January 5, with biggest eclipse occurring at eight:41:28 EST. 

Sunday, January 6 pre-dawn — Venus at Biggest Angle West of the Solar

Within the jap pre-dawn sky on Sunday, January 6, Venus will attain its biggest separation of 47 levels west of the solar for its present morning look. In a telescope, Venus will present a half-illuminated disk (inset). Attributable to its excessive brightness of -Four.56, the planet might be seen from Four a.m. native time till near dawn.

Sunday, January 6 night — Uranus Stands Nonetheless

On Sunday, January 6, the distant blue-green planet Uranus will full a westward retrograde loop that started in early August, and briefly stop its movement via the distant stars of Pisces. After tonight, the planet will resume common eastward orbital movement. The magnitude +5.77 planet will be seen in binoculars below darkish skies. That will help you discover it, Uranus might be sitting 1.25 levels (a thumb’s width) above the medium–vibrant star Omicron Piscium. Each the planet and star will match inside the discipline of view of a telescope at low magnification (orange circle). 

Thursday, January 10 early night — Crescent Moon close to Neptune

Throughout early night within the southwestern sky on Thursday, January 10, the waxing crescent moon will land three levels to the decrease left of dim, distant Neptune. As a second positional support for locating Neptune, the medium-bright star Lambda Aquarii (Hydor) might be located 2.5 levels to the decrease proper of Neptune. All three objects will match within the discipline of view of binoculars (orange circle). Attempt to discover Neptune forward of seven p.m. native time, earlier than it drops very low within the sky. 

Saturday, January 12 night – Half Moon close to Mars

Within the southwestern sky after nightfall on Saturday, January 12, the practically half-illuminated moon will move 5 levels (a couple of palm’s width) to the decrease left of medium-bright, reddish Mars. By the point the duo units at about 11:30 p.m. native time, the sky’s rotation will carry the moon greater and to the planet’s left. 

Monday, January 14 at 1:45 a.m. EST — First Quarter Moon

After the moon has accomplished the primary quarter of its orbit round Earth, the relative positions of the Earth, solar, and moon trigger us to see it half-illuminated — on its jap aspect. A primary quarter moon at all times rises round midday and units round midnight native time, so additionally it is seen within the afternoon daytime sky. The evenings round first quarter are one of the best occasions to take a look at the lunar terrain whereas it’s dramatically lit by low-angled daylight. 

Thursday, January 17 night — Gibbous Moon close to Aldebaran

Within the southeastern sky on the night of January 17, the waxing gibbous moon might be positioned lower than Four levels (4 finger widths) to the decrease left of the intense, orange star Aldebaran in Taurus. Throughout the the rest of the evening, the moon will transfer (inexperienced line) farther away from the star, and the sky’s rotation will carry the moon greater than Aldebaran. For skywatchers in Europe, in early night, the moon will move straight via Taurus’s triangular face and seem a lot nearer to Aldebaran. 

Sunday, January 21 at 12:16 a.m. EST – A Full Wolf Supermoon and Complete Lunar Eclipse

The January full moon, often called the Wolf Moon, Outdated Moon, or Moon after Yuletide, at all times shines in or close to the celebs of Gemini or Most cancers. It rises at sundown and units at dawn, and the place of the ecliptic on winter nights causes January moons to culminate very excessive within the evening sky. This full moon happens fifteen hours earlier than perigee, the purpose within the moon’s orbit when it’s closest to Earth, making it a supermoon, and producing excessive tides globally. This full moon will happen whereas the moon is on the ecliptic, producing a complete lunar eclipse which can start when the moon contacts the Earth’s shadow at 10:34 p.m. EST on Saturday night. The moon will move deeply via the Earth’s northern umbral shadow, extending totality to 1h02m in length, and darkening the moon’s southern half way more than its northern half. At biggest eclipse, which happens at 12:13 a.m. EST, the moon might be 7 levels west of Messier 44 (The Beehive Cluster). The partial section of the eclipse will finish at 1:51 a.m. EST. Your complete eclipse might be seen from North and South America, the jap Pacific Ocean, and westernmost Europe. 

Monday, January 21 daybreak and nightfall — Full Moon Buzzes the Beehive

Within the western sky earlier than daybreak on Monday, January 21, the waning gibbous moon might be located lower than Four levels to the decrease proper (west) of the massive open star cluster often called the Beehive (additionally designated Messier 44) in Most cancers. Each objects will match inside the discipline of view of a telescope at low magnification (orange circle), though the intense moonlight will obscure the cluster’s dimmer stars. Throughout the course of the day, the moon’s eastward orbital movement will carry it intently previous the cluster — and after the moon rises within the east at 6 p.m. native time, it is going to be positioned a couple of palm’s width to the decrease left (east) of the Beehive cluster, permitting skywatchers to see their meet-up twice in the identical day. 

Tuesday, January 22 pre-dawn — Venus Overtakes Jupiter

When very vibrant Venus rises from the southeastern horizon at round Four:30 a.m. native time on Tuesday, January 22, the planet Jupiter might be positioned solely 2.5 levels to Venus’ decrease proper. They are going to each match inside the discipline of view of binoculars (orange circle). Each Jupiter and Venus might be travelling eastward through the third week of January, however Venus’ quicker movement will trigger it to catch, after which overtake, the extra distant planet, pairing them up for a number of mornings on both aspect of January 22.

Sunday, January 27 at Four:10 pm EST — Final Quarter Moon

At its final quarter section, the moon rises round midnight and stays seen within the southern sky all morning. At this section, the moon is illuminated on its western aspect, in the direction of the pre-dawn Sunday Final quarter moons are positioned forward of the Earth in our journey across the Sunday About 3½ hours later, Earth will occupy that very same location in house. After this section, the waning moon will traverse the final quarter of its orbit across the earth, on the best way to new moon.

Thursday, January 31 pre-dawn — Outdated Moon Visits Pre-dawn Planets

For the second time throughout January, the outdated moon will go to the pre-dawn planets Jupiter and Venus. This time, within the southeastern pre-dawn sky of Thursday, January 31, the outdated crescent moon will land between them — sitting 2.5 levels to the higher proper of vibrant Venus and 5.5 levels to the decrease left of Jupiter. And, simply after 6 a.m. native time, Saturn will rise to take a seat 21 levels (or two fist diameters) to the decrease left of the moon. The gorgeous chain of objects alongside the ecliptic (inexperienced line) ought to stay seen within the rising twilight till roughly 7 a.m. native time. Later that morning, the moon’s orbital movement will carry it nearer to Venus, permitting skywatchers to seek out Venus in broad daylight. Observers in jap Micronesia, Polynesia (besides Hawaii), Galapagos Is., southern Central America, and northwestern South America will see the moon occult Venus in daylight. 

Mercury will open January within the jap pre-dawn sky, however after mid-December’s biggest western elongation, Mercury will already on its approach downward and towards the solar, limiting its visibility to a brief interval after 7 am native time through the first half of the month. On January Four, the very outdated crescent moon will land lower than three levels above Mercury. For the remainder of the month, Mercury will transfer in the direction of superior conjunction with the solar on January 30. On the similar time, Mercury will wax in the direction of a very full section and shrink in obvious disk diameter from 5.2″ to Four.eight”. 

Throughout January, Venus will shine brightly within the jap pre-dawn sky, remaining seen till simply earlier than dawn as a result of its brilliance. The planet will move from Libra into Scorpius on January 10, after which transition into southern Ophiuchus after mid-month. On January 6, the planet will attain its biggest angle west of the solar, when it’s going to shine at a most brilliance for the yr (magnitude -Four.6) and can exhibit a 50 % illuminated, 25 arc-second diameter disk. For the remainder of January, Venus will slowly wax in section (to 62 %), and shrink in obvious diameter to 19.three arc-seconds. The outdated moon will land Four.5 levels to the west (higher proper) of Venus. On January 22, Venus’ extra fast eastward movement will overtake Jupiter, showing 2.three levels north (above) of the large planet. The duo will match into the sphere of view of binoculars and widefield telescopes. To finish the month, the outdated moon will return on January 31 to take a seat 2 levels west (to the higher proper) of Venus. Observers in jap Micronesia, Polynesia (besides Hawaii), Galapagos Is., southern Central America, and northwest South America will see the moon occult Venus. In North America, the moon will support find Venus through the morning daytime. 

The yr 2019 might be a poor one for observing Mars. Throughout January, the pink planet will stay well-positioned for viewing within the southwestern night sky as a medium-bright, reddish, naked-eye object as a result of the night ecliptic has lifted it greater, and likewise as a result of it’s travelling quickly eastward via Pisces whereas the celebs shift west each night. Mars will begin the month at its peak brightness for 2019 of magnitude +zero.48 and a most obvious disk diameter of seven.38 arc-seconds. However Earth’s growing distance to the planet will dim it to +zero.88 and shrink it to six.14 arc-seconds on January 31. The waxing crescent moon will move 5 levels to the south (to the decrease left) of Mars on January 12. 

Jupiter, not too long ago previous opposition, will spend January low within the southeastern pre-dawn sky among the many stars of southern Ophiuchus. The magnitude -1.77 planet will rise two hours earlier than the solar (at 5:52 am native time) on January 1 and three.5 hours forward (at Four:12 am) at month’s finish. The outdated crescent moon will land three levels northeast (to the left) of Jupiter on January three. The planet will move 15 arc-minutes north of the intense globular cluster NGC6235 on January 16, establishing a pleasant photograph alternative. On January 22, Venus’ extra fast eastward movement will overtake Jupiter, putting it 2.three levels north of (above) the large planet. The duo will match into the sphere of view of binoculars and widefield telescopes. The outdated moon will return to hop previous Jupiter on January 30 and 31. 

Saturn will attain conjunction with the solar on January 2, and it will not turn out to be an affordable observing goal, within the jap pre-dawn sky, till effectively after mid-month, when it’s going to begin to rise earlier than 7 am native time. Saturn will spend all of 2019 in Sagittarius. 

Blue-green Uranus (magnitude 5.76) will spend January among the many stars of jap Pisces, slowly shifting westward till its retrograde loop ends on January 6. Uranus might be very effectively positioned for night observing all month lengthy, holding a place greater than midway up the southern and southwestern sky as quickly because it’s full darkish. Though Uranus could also be seen with the bare eye in a really darkish sky, binoculars or a small telescope will make seeing it comparatively straightforward. The magnitude +Four.25 star Omicron Piscium will support you to find Uranus for the primary a part of the yr. On January 1, Uranus will sit 1.25 levels northeast of (above) that star. The separation will enhance solely barely by month’s finish.

For January, deep blue Neptune might be seen within the western sky throughout early night. The distant planet will spend the month shifting eastward via the celebs of Aquarius. The planet might be framed inside the triangle fashioned by the bare eye stars Lambda, Psi, and Phi Aquarii. It can start January sitting 2.three levels east of Lambda and steadily drift eastward to nominate halfway between Lambda and Phi on January 31.

Gibbous: Used to explain a planet or moon that’s greater than 50 % illuminated.

Asterism: A noteworthy or putting sample of stars inside a bigger constellation.

Levels (measuring the sky): The sky is 360 levels all the best way round, which suggests roughly 180 levels from horizon to horizon. It is simple to measure distances between objects: Your fist on an outstretched arm covers about 10 levels of sky, whereas a finger covers about one diploma.

Visible Magnitude: That is the astronomer’s scale for measuring the brightness of objects within the sky. The dimmest object seen within the evening sky below completely darkish situations is about magnitude 6.5. Brighter stars are magnitude 2 or 1. The brightest objects get adverse numbers. Venus will be as vibrant as magnitude minus Four.9. The total moon is minus 12.7 and the solar is minus 26.eight.

Terminator: The boundary on the moon between daylight and shadow.

Zenith: The purpose within the sky straight overhead.

  • Modify to the darkish: In case you want to observe faint objects, equivalent to meteors or dim stars, give your eyes at the very least 15 minutes to regulate to the darkness.
  • Mild Air pollution: Even from a giant metropolis, one can see the moon, a handful of vibrant stars and typically the brightest planets. However to completely benefit from the heavens — particularly a meteor bathe, the constellations, or to see the superb swath throughout the sky that represents our view towards the middle of the Milky Means Galaxy — rural areas are greatest for evening sky viewing. In case you’re caught in a metropolis or suburban space, a constructing can be utilized to dam ambient gentle (or moonlight) to assist reveal fainter objects. In case you’re within the suburbs, merely turning off out of doors lights will help.
  • Put together for skywatching: In case you plan to be out for various minutes, and it is not a heat summer season night, costume hotter than you assume crucial. An hour of observing a winter meteor bathe can chill you to the bone. A blanket or lounge chair will show way more snug than standing or sitting in a chair and craning your neck to see overhead.
  • Daytime skywatching: When Venus is seen (that’s, not in entrance of or behind the solar) it could actually usually be noticed through the day. However you may have to know the place to look. A sky map is useful. When the solar has massive sunspots, they are often seen and not using a telescope. Nonetheless, it is unsafe to take a look at the solar with out protecting eyewear. See our video on safely observe the solar, or our secure sunwatching infographic.

Moon Phases: How the lunar cycle works, from full moon to new moon. Additionally discover out when is the subsequent full moon.

Constellations: The historical past of the Zodiac constellations and their place in evening sky observing.

Lunar Eclipses: How they work, plus discover out when’s the following lunar eclipse.

Photo voltaic Eclipses: How they work, the categories, and when the following one happens.

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