Night Sky Guide for January 2019 - Total Lunar Eclipse, Partial Solar Eclipse, Quadrantids

Night Sky Guide for January 2019 - Total Lunar Eclipse, Partial Solar Eclipse, Quadrantids

January 1 - Conjunction of the Moon and Venus - 21:49 UTC. The Moon and Venus will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 1°16' to the north of Venus. The Moon will be 25 days old. The Moon will be at mag -10.7, and Venus at mag -4.5, both in the constellation Libra. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

January 1 - Close approach of the Moon and Venus - 22:34 UTC. The Moon and Venus will make a close approach, passing within 1°13' of each other. The Moon will be 25 days old. The Moon will be at mag -10.7, and Venus at mag -4.5, both in the constellation Libra. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

January 2 - Saturn at Solar Conjunction - 05:53 UTC. Saturn will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth. At closest approach, Saturn will appear at a separation of only 0°28' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare.

January 2 - M41 well placed for observation. The open star cluster M41 (NGC 2287) in Canis Major will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -20°45', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 49°N. At magnitude 4.5, M41 is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from any but the very darkest sites but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

January 3 - Earth at Perihelion - 05:21 UTC. The Earth's annual orbit around the solar system will carry it to its closest point to the Sun, at a distance of 0.98 AU. The Earth's distance from the Sun varies by around 3% over the course of the year because its orbit is slightly oval-shaped, following a path called an ellipse. In practice, this variation is rather slight, however, because the Earth's orbit is very nearly circular. The Earth completes one revolution around this oval-shaped orbit each year, and so it makes its closest approach to the Sun on roughly the same day every year. In 2019, this falls on 3 January. Technically speaking, this marks the moment when the Sun appears larger in the sky than at any other time of year, and when the Earth receives the most radiation from it. In practice, however, a 3% difference in the Earth's distance from the Sun is barely noticeable. Annual changes in our weather, for example between the summer and winter, are caused entirely by the tilt of the Earth's axis of rotation, rather than by any change in its distance from the Sun.

January 3 - Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter - 07:36 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 3°07' to the north of Jupiter. The Moon will be 27 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -9.8, and Jupiter at mag -1.8, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

January 3 - Close approach of the Moon and Jupiter - 08:49 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 3°04' of each other. The Moon will be 27 days old. The Moon will be at mag -9.7, and Jupiter at mag -1.8, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

January 4 - Quadrantid Meteor Shower. The Quadrantid meteor shower will reach its maximum rate of activity on January 4, 2019. However, some shooting stars associated with this shower are expected to be visible each night from January 1 to January 6. The maximum rate of meteors expected to be visible is around 80 per hour. However, this assumes a perfectly dark sky and that the radiant of the meteor shower is directly overhead. In practice, the number of meteors you are likely to see is lower than this. The Moon will be 28 days old at the time of peak activity, presenting minimal interference.

January 4 - Conjunction of the Moon and Mercury - 17:41 UTC. The Moon and Mercury will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 2°45' to the north of Mercury. The Moon will be 28 days old. The Moon will be at mag -8.2, and Mercury at mag -0.4, both in the constellation Sagittarius. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

January 5 - Venus at dichotomy - 19:16 UTC. Venus will be well placed for observation in the dawn sky, shining brightly at mag -4.4. Venus's orbit lies closer to the Sun than the Earth's, meaning that it always appears close to the Sun and is very difficult to observe most of the time. It is observable only for a few weeks each time it reaches greatest separation from the Sun – moments referred to as greatest elongation. On these occasions, however, Venus is so bright and conspicuous that it becomes the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon. It is often called the morning or evening star.

January 6 - New Moon - 01:30 UTC. The Moon will pass close to the Sun and become lost in the Sun's glare for a few days. The Moon's orbital motion carries it around the Earth once every four weeks, and as a result, its phases cycle from new moon, through the first quarter, full moon and last quarter, back to new moon once every 29.5 days.

January 6 - Partial Solar Eclipse - 22:39 UTC, January 5 - 04:37 UTC, January 6. The Moon will pass in front of the Sun, creating a partial eclipse of the Sun visible from Eastern Asia, United States, Northern Mariana Islands, b'Midway Islands' and b'Wake Island'. The alignment between the Sun and Moon will not be very exact, and so the Moon will only partially cover the Sun, and nowhere on Earth will see a total eclipse.

January 6 - Venus at greatest elongation west - 06:20 UTC. Venus will be well placed for observation in the dawn sky, shining brightly at mag -4.4. Venus's orbit lies closer to the Sun than the Earth's, meaning that it always appears close to the Sun and is very difficult to observe most of the time. It is observable only for a few weeks each time it reaches greatest separation from the Sun – moments referred to as greatest elongation.

January 11 - Pluto at solar conjunction - 11:36 UTC. Pluto will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth. At closest approach, Pluto will appear at a separation of only 0°07' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare. At around the same time, Pluto will also be at its most distant from the Earth – receding to a distance of 34.71 AU – since the two planets will lie on opposite sides of the solar system. If Pluto could be observed at this time, it would appear at its smallest and faintest on account of its large distance. It would measure 0.0 arcsec in diameter.

January 12 - Conjunction of the Moon and Mars - 19:48 UTC. The Moon and Mars will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 5°20' to the south of Mars. The Moon will be 6 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -11.5 in the constellation Cetus, and Mars at mag 0.6 in the neighboring constellation of Pisces. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope or pair of binoculars but will be visible to the naked eye.

January 13 - Close approach of the Moon and Mars - 23:52 UTC. The Moon and Mars will make a close approach, passing within 4°58' of each other. The Moon will be 6 days old.

January 14 - M47 well placed for observation. The open star cluster M47 (NGC 2422) in Puppis will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -14°28', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere; it can be seen at latitudes between 55°N and 84°S. At magnitude 4.4, M47 is tricky to make out with the naked eye except from a dark site but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

January 15 - NGC 2403 well placed for observation. NGC 2403, a spiral galaxy in Camelopardalis will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of +65°36', it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much south of 4°S. At magnitude 8.9, NGC2403 is quite faint, and certainly not visible to the naked eye, but can be viewed through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

January 17 - NGC 2451 well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the open star cluster NGC 2451 in Puppis will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -37°58', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 32°N. At magnitude 2.8, NGC2451 is visible to the naked eye, but best viewed through a pair of binoculars.

January 18 - C/2017 M4 (ATLAS) at perihelion. Comet C/2017 M4 (ATLAS) will make its closest approach to the Sun, at a distance of 3.26 AU.

January 20 - NGC 2516 well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the open star cluster NGC 2516 in Volans will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -60°45', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 9°N. At magnitude 3.8, NGC2516 is tricky to make out with the naked eye except from a dark site but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

January 21 - Total Lunar Eclipse - 03:35 UTC - 07:51 UTC. The Moon will pass through the Earth's shadow, creating a total lunar eclipse. The eclipse will be visible any location where the Moon is above the horizon at the time, including from Africa, the Americas, Europe, Kiribati, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Turkey. The eclipse will begin at 03:37, when the Moon first enters a region of the Earth's shadow called the penumbra. In this outer part of the Earth's shadow, an observer on the Moon would see the Earth partially obscuring the Sun's disk, but not completely covering it. As a result, the Moon's brightness will begin to dim, as it is less strongly illuminated by the Sun, but it remains illuminated. At 04:35, the edge of the Moon's disk will enter the Earth's umbra. This is the region of space in which an observer on the Moon's surface would see the Earth completely obscuring the whole of the Sun's disk, and would find themselves suddenly thrust into darkness. As an increasing fraction of the Moon's face creeps into the Earth's umbra, it will appear to have a growing bite taken out of it. We will see our planet's circular shadow sweep across the face of the Moon. Eventually, the Moon will pass entirely within the Earth's umbra at 05:42, and the total eclipse will begin.

January 21 - Full Moon - 05:17 UTC. The Moon will reach full phase. At this time in its monthly cycle of phases, the Moon lies almost directly opposite the Sun in the sky, placing it high above the horizon for much of the night. This month's full moon will take place unusually close to the time of the month when the Moon also makes its closest approach to the Earth – called its perigee. This means the moon will appear slightly larger and brighter than at other times, though any difference is imperceptible to the unaided eye. Perigee full moons such as this occur roughly once every 13 months. The sequence of full moons through the year are often assigned names according to the seasons in which they fall. This month's will be the second to fall in winter 2019 – the Wolf Moon.

January 21 - Close approach of the Moon and M44 - 15:59 UTC. The Moon and M44 will make a close approach, passing within 0°16' of each other. The Moon will be 15 days old. The Moon will be at mag -12.8, and M44 at mag 3.1, both in the constellation Cancer. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible through a pair of binoculars.

January 22 - Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter - 05:43 UTC. Venus and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with Venus passing 2°26' to the north of Jupiter. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. Venus will be at mag -4.3, and Jupiter at mag -1.9, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

January 22 - Close approach of Venus and Jupiter - 15:18 UTC. Venus and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 2°24' of each other. Venus will be at mag -4.3, and Jupiter at mag -1.9, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

January 23 - NGC 2547 well placed for observation. Across much of the world, the open star cluster NGC 2547 in Vela will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of -49°12', it is easiest to see from the southern hemisphere but cannot be seen from latitudes much north of 20°N. At magnitude 4.7, NGC2547 is too faint to be seen with the naked eye from any but the very darkest sites but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

January 30 - Mercury at superior solar conjunction - 02:36 UTC. Mercury will pass very close to the Sun in the sky as its orbit carries it around the far side of the solar system from the Earth. This occurs once in every synodic cycle of the planet (116 days), and marks the end of Mercury's apparition in the morning sky and its transition to become an evening object over the next few weeks. At closest approach, Mercury will appear at a separation of only 2°05' from the Sun, making it totally unobservable for several weeks while it is lost in the Sun's glare. Mercury will also pass apogee – the time when it is most distant from the Earth – at around the same time, since it will lie exactly opposite to the Earth in the Solar System. It will move to a distance of 1.41 AU from the Earth, making it appear small and very distant. If it could be observed, it would measure 4.8 arcsec in diameter, whilst appearing completely illuminated.

January 31 - Conjunction of the Moon and Jupiter - 23:54 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 2°45' to the north of Jupiter. The Moon will be 24 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -10.9, and Jupiter at mag -1.9, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

January 31 - Close approach of the Moon and Jupiter - 00:48 UTC. The Moon and Jupiter will make a close approach, passing within 2°43' of each other. The Moon will be 25 days old. The Moon will be at mag -10.9, and Jupiter at mag -1.9, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

January 31 - Conjunction of the Moon and Venus - 17:36 UTC. The Moon and Venus will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 0°05' to the north of Venus. The Moon will be 25 days old. At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse. The Moon will be at mag -10.5, and Venus at mag -4.3, both in the constellation Ophiuchus. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

January 31 - Close approach of the Moon and Venus - 17:37 UTC. The Moon and Venus will make a close approach, passing within 0°05' of each other. The Moon will be 25 days old. The pair will be close enough to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will also be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars. At around the same time, the two objects will also share the same right ascension – called a conjunction.

January 31 - M44 well placed for observation. The Beehive open star cluster (M44, NGC 2632, also known as Praesepe) will be well placed for observation. It will reach its highest point in the sky at around midnight local time. At a declination of +19°40', it is easiest to see from the northern hemisphere; it can be seen at latitudes between 89°N and 50°S. At magnitude 3.1, M44 is tricky to make out with the naked eye except from a dark site but is visible through a pair of binoculars or a small telescope.

Sources: In The Sky by Dominic Ford, The Watchers

Featured image credit: NASA, TW

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Comments

Wayne 2 months ago

where is "tonights sky" January 2019?

Teo Blašković (@Wayne) 2 months ago

wasn't available at the time

Kenneth cash 2 months ago

This blood moon on the 20-21st WILL be very special, starting on Sunday the 7TH day and WILL indeed end on the Eighth DAY WHEN ALL TRUE HEBREWS ALONG WITH OTHERS WHO LOVE GOD WILL BE MAD CLEAN AND DEDICATED TO THE LORD FATHER OF ALL! That day called in English is the feast of the first fruits. Because this is now the 9th month when babes are bourn! THAT blood moon WILL be seen from cost to cost in the night sky for the first time that a blood moon was ever seen from costs to cost for a good reason sense the great tribulations and famine is now coming! This new year! REMEMBER GOD SAID THAT before the DAY of the LORD comes the moon WILL be in fact blood red. JOEL 2:31

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