#astronomy January Night time Sky 2021 – Astronotes

January 14, 2021 - Comment

Nonetheless searching for a New Years decision or lockdown passion? Why not get into stargazing in 2021! Take an evening off your present Netflix sequence; wrap up heat; step exterior and gaze up on the wonders of the winter night time sky. Winter is a superb time to look at as a result of lengthy darkish evenings


Nonetheless searching for a New Years decision or lockdown passion? Why not get into stargazing in 2021! Take an evening off your present Netflix sequence; wrap up heat; step exterior and gaze up on the wonders of the winter night time sky. Winter is a superb time to look at as a result of lengthy darkish evenings (that’s one optimistic to the solar setting at four.30pm!!).

Right here’s what to look out for in January: 

Dates to your Diary 

10th January – Greatest time to see Jupiter and Saturn 

After the Nice Conjunction of Jupiter  and Saturn in December, these gasoline giants play much less of a job within the night time sky this month.  Day-to-day, the twosome seems a bit decrease within the sky at nightfall, and units sooner after sunset. For the very best view of those worlds, discover an unobstructed horizon within the path of sundown, and search them out about 45 to 60 minutes after the solar goes down with both the attention alone or binoculars. Each of those planets will disappear from the night sky in the course of the second half of January, as they transition out of the night sky and into the morning sky. The most effective time so that you can see them is on the 10th January, 30 minutes after sundown trying southwest. 

Viewing the Nice Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn via Armagh’s 10-inch Grubb refractor, as utilized by the 4th Director Dr JLE Dreyer to compile the well-known NGC Catalogue of Nebula and Clusters of Stars.

20th/21st January – Mars and Moon shut within the night time sky 

Mars remains to be seen all through January however preserve an eye fixed out on the night of Jan. 20 trying south-west, for the Crimson Planet glowing to the higher left of the primary quarter moon. The following night time, you ought to see Mars an identical distance from the moon, however to its higher proper.   

Caption: Mars glowing above quarter moon on 21/01/21 @ 00:10 Credit score: Stellarium 

24th January – Biggest Elongation of Mercury 

We’re additionally handled to the prospect to look at the closest planet to the Solar, Mercury. Mercury’s orbit lies nearer to the Solar than the Earth’s, that means it all the time seems near the Solar and is misplaced within the Solar’s glare a lot of the time. It’s observable for just a few weeks every time it reaches best separation from the Solar – moments known as best elongation. Mercury reaches best elongation on the 24th January, that is when you’ll get the very best view of the rocky planet. Look southwest, low on the horizon round 30 minutes after sundown. 

 Mercury seen low on the western horizon throughout January. Video Credit score: Stellarium 

Now for a have a look at some stars: 

The Winter Circle 

In January, now we have an incredible view of the Winter Circle or Hexagon. It’s a assortment of a number of the brightest winter stars within the Northern Hemisphere. This assortment of stars varieties an asterism reasonably than a constellation. Every of those stars belongs to its personal constellation. 

The Winter Circle seen within the southern a part of the sky. Credit score: Stellarium 

Final month we targeted in on the well-known constellation of Orion and find out how to discover it within the southern a part of sky, and that is the place we’ll start the Winter Circle. Discover the brilliant bluish star on the decrease proper, this star is Rigel. It’s the seventh brightest star within the night time sky and that is the place we’ll begin the Winter Circle. Transfer upwards to the brightest star of Taurus the Bull, Aldebaran. It is a purple big star and the fourteenth brightest star within the sky. 

Proceed upwards in an anti-clockwise path to search out the subsequent brilliant star capella within the constellation of Auriga. Transferring additional right down to the west we run into two brilliant stars, the twins in Gemini. These two brilliant stars mark the heads of twins from Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux. The celebs are named after the brothers. Pollux, the brighter of the 2 is the 4th star in our circle. 

Our penultimate cease across the Winter Circle is the brilliant star under the twins, Procyon. Procyon is the brightest star in Canis Minor. For such a small constellation, Procyon shines brilliantly because the seventh brightest star within the sky. Lastly, we come right down to the closing star within the Winter Circle and the brightest of all of them, Sirius. Sirius is barely eight.6 mild years away from us and is the brightest star, not solely within the Winter Circle, however in the whole night time sky!

House journey in the direction of Sirius, creative impression. Credit score: Canva 

So, there you will have it, a whistle-stop tour of the brightest stars within the winter night time sky. These shall be seen for the subsequent few months so be sure you get out on the subsequent clear night time and see when you can draw that hexagon/circle within the sky! 



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