Monday, January 7, 2013

Sky Events January 2013


Moon Phases

Fri., January 4, 10:58 p.m. EST

Last Quarter Moon

The last or third quarter moon rises around midnight and sets around noon. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Fri., January 11, 2:44 p.m. EST

New Moon

The moon is not visible on the date of new moon because it is too close to the sun, but can be seen low in the east as a narrow crescent a morning or two before, just before sunrise. It is visible low in the west an evening or two after new moon.

Fri., January 18, 6:45 p.m. EST

First Quarter Moon

The first quarter moon rises around 11 a.m. and sets around 1 a.m. It dominates the evening sky

Sat., January 26, 11:38 p.m. EST

Full Moon

The full moon of January is called the Wolf Moon. Its Cree name is Gishepapiwatekimumpizun, meaning “moon when the old fellow spreads the brush.” Other names are Moon After Yule, Ice Moon and Old Moon. In Hindi it is known as Paush Poornima. Its Sinhala (Buddhist) name is Duruthu. The full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Observing Highlights

Thu., January 3, midnight–dawn local time

Quadrantid meteor shower

One of the finest meteor showers of the year, though a waning gibbous moon will interfere with the view. The Quadrantids take their name from an obsolete constellation, Quadrans Muralis, now part of Boötes.

Thu., January 10, sunrise

Venus and the Moon

Venus and the Moon will be in a close conjunction low in the southeast at sunrise. Because Venus is on the far side of its orbit, heading towards superior conjunction with the Sun on March 28, it will be 95% illuminated, while the Moon, just a day away from New Moon, will be only 2% illuminated.

Mon., January 21, 10 p.m. EST

Jupiter and the Moon

A close conjunction between Jupiter and the Moon, flanked by Aldebaran and the Hyades to the left and the Pleiades to the right. The Moon will actually pass in front of Jupiter for viewers in the South Pacific Ocean and central South America.


Mercury will be too close to the Sun for observation this month.

Venus is now low in the southeast at sunrise, heading towards superior conjunction with the Sun on March 28.

Mars has faded into the west moving behind the sun. It moves from Capricornus into Aquarius on January 29.

Jupiter remains in Taurus, close to Aldebaran and the Hyades. It is high in the eastern sky at sunset and sets in the northwest around 3 a.m.

Saturn is spends the month in western Libra. It rises in the east at around 1 a.m., and is visible the rest of the night.

Uranus is visible in Pisces in the early evening and sets around 10 p.m.

Neptune is in Aquarius all month, becoming lost in the twilight close to the Sun.

Geoff Gaherty
Starry Night Software Support
All graphics © 2013 Starry Night Software

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