Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sky Events January 2014


Moon Phases

Wednesday, Jan. 1, 6:14 a.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. This is the first of two New Moons this month.

Tuesday, Jan. 7, 10:39 p.m. EST

First Quarter Moon

The First Quarter Moon rises around 11:20 a.m. and sets around 12:50 a.m. It dominates the evening sky.

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 11:52 p.m. EST

Full Moon

The Full Moon of January is known as the Wolf Moon or the Old Moon. It 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. This will be the smallest full moon in 2014.

Friday, Jan. 24, 12:19 a.m. EST

Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon rises around 1 a.m. and sets around 11:40 a.m. It is most easily seen just after sunrise in the southern sky.

Thursday, Jan. 30, 4:38 p.m. EST

New Moon

This is the second New Moon this month. There is no special name for this event.

Observing Highlights

Thursday and Friday, Jan. 2 and 3, between midnight and dawn

Quadrantid meteor shower

The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks at 3 p.m. EST on January 2, during daylight. The best times to observe will be Thursday morning and Friday morning, between midnight and dawn. The meteors appear to radiate from a point between northern Bootes and the handle of the Big Dipper, once part of an obsolete constellation called Quadrans Muralis, the Wall Quadrant.

Sunday, Jan. 5

Jupiter at opposition

Jupiter will be exactly opposite the Sun in Earth’s sky. It rises in the east at sunset and sets in the west at sunrise, visible all night long. Jupiter is currently in the far northern constellation of Gemini, so will be high in the sky for northern observers, surrounded by five of the brightest stars in the sky: Capella, Betelgeuse, Procyon, Pollux and Castor.

Saturday, Jan. 11

Venus at inferior conjunction

In its transition from “evening star” to “morning star,” Venus passes between Earth and Sun today. Because of the tilt of its orbit, it passes six degrees north of the Sun, rather than directly in front as it did in June 2012.

Thursday, Jan. 23, 5 a.m. EST

The Moon close to Spica

The Moon will pass just north of the bright star Spica in Virgo, with Mars close by.

Saturday, Jan. 25, early morning

The Moon close to Saturn

The Moon will pass just south of Saturn in Libra. The Moon will occult Saturn for observers in French Polynesia, New Zealand, southern South America, and Antarctica.

Tuesday, Jan. 28, sunrise

The Moon close to Venus

The slender crescent Moon will be just to the right of Venus.

Wednesday, Jan. 29, sunrise

The Moon close to Venus

On Wednesday morning, the Moon will be even closer to Venus, just below it and to the left, but the Moon will be only one day away from New so may be difficult to see.

Friday, Jan. 31, sunset

Mercury at greatest elongation east

Mercury will be well placed for observation just after sunset for observers in the northern hemisphere. The 1-day-old Moon will be nearby.


Mercury is well placed in the evening sky for observers in the northern hemisphere for the last week of January.

Venus passes just above the Sun on January 11. It may be glimpsed in the western sky just after sunset at the beginning of the month and in the eastern sky just before sunrise at the end of the month.

Mars is continues to brighten in Virgo in the morning sky.

Jupiter is in opposition on January 5 and shines brightly all night all month. The Great Red Spot is easier to see than in many recent years, showing a distinct orange color.

Saturn is low in the eastern sky just before sunrise, in the constellation Libra.

Uranus is visible all evening, setting around 11 p.m. It is in Pisces all month long.

Neptune, in Aquarius, is visible in the early evening and sets around 8 p.m.

Geoff Gaherty

Starry Night Software Support

All graphics © 2014 Starry Night Software

1 comment:

  1. Nice job, Geoff. One detail about the Quadrantids is that the peak time of the shower is generally listed as the afternoon of Jan. 3 (according to RASC Observers Handbook and Sky & Telescope Jan 2014), not Jan. 2 so there may be a typo here. The most interesting detail may be the very short duration of the shower and the best mornings to watch would be the mornings of Jan. 3 and 4.