January: Evening Planet Adieu

In late January, early risers can see three planets plus a skinny crescent Moon low within the east earlier than dawn.Sky & Telescope

Every January thousands and thousands of us resolve to do one thing, something, totally different or higher within the coming yr. One strong decision could be to get exterior and benefit from the evening sky extra. It’ll be robust — typically you’ll be too busy, or too drained, or . . . effectively, you get the image. So why not resolve to do extra stargazing this coming yr?

There’s no higher technique to ease into that aim than by listening to our month-to-month Sky Tour astronomy podcast. It’s bought all the data it’s good to get began, offered in an informative and entertaining 12-minute guided tour of the nighttime sky. Every month 1000’s of different skywatchers similar to you obtain or stream our Sky Tour podcast to get accustomed to the goings-on within the starry sky above you. Why not be a part of them?

The western night sky is full of planets as January opens, but it surely will not keep that method for lengthy. Venus and Saturn are wrapping up their months-long arc throughout the night sky and can quickly dip from sight. But round January seventh, sensible Venus will probably be changed low within the west with one other vivid planet. And which one is that? You’ll need to take heed to the Sky Tour podcast to seek out out!

An apparent asterism (star sample) to search for is the five-star zigzag of Cassiopeia. It appears to be like like a squashed W in summertime, and like a flattened M in winter. After sundown, as soon as it will get darkish, face north and look virtually straight up. There’s Cassiopeia in its “M” place. It’s somewhat wider than your clenched fist at arm’s size. Its left facet is the brightest and best to see. This grouping is the Big Dipper’s counterpart within the northern sky. In spring and summer time, when the Dipper rides excessive, Cassiopeia lurks low. In fall and winter, it’s Cassiopeia’s flip to shine excessive over the night world, whereas the Dipper sinks low behind the bushes.

Above the japanese horizon at dusk you’ll see the celebrities of Orion, the Hunter. Look for a trio of vivid stars in a vertical row. These mark Orion’s belt — yet one more asterism — and there’s nothing else like them anyplace within the sky. To the belt’s higher left is the intense star Betelgeuse, which marks the Hunter’s shoulder. On the appropriate facet of the Belt is Orion’s different actually vivid star, Rigel. Can you see the colour distinction between peachy Betelgeuse and icy-white Rigel?

And in fact there’s a lot, rather more to see within the evening sky throughout January. It’s an amazing month to trace down a number of the vivid and exquisite stars that look as if you happen to may attain out and contact them on a chilly, crisp winter evening. So obtain or take heed to this month’s Sky Tour podcast — and get began on that New Year’s decision to do extra stargazing!

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