January 2018 Observing Plan

January 2018 Observing Plan

Postby rene-gedaly » Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:45 pm

Here's the backyard observing plan for January 2018: (1) Follow along and/or add your own objects, and (2) Post your observations as a reply to topic "January 2018 - Post Observations Here" Link to topic: https://www.astronomyhouston.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=839

    Jan 1 - pre-dawn (look ESE) - Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation. 1.6 Mag should be easily viewable thru moon glow if you can see that low on horizon, esp since full moon on other side of sky, setting west. Catch Jupiter, Mars higher up from Mercury in southeast. See drako's post, always.
    January 3-4 - Quadrantid Meteor Shower Peaks. You know those random meteoroids you see in between major meteor showers? They come from minor showers, like this one. I
    January 5 - Moon meets Regulus, morning skies
    January 6 - Mars close to Jupiter, predawn sky in the east
    January 8 - Last Quarter Moon, also 3rd Qtr. "At last quarter, the moon rises around midnight and remains visible in the southern sky during morning daylight. At this phase, the moon is illuminated on the eastern side, towards the pre-dawn sun. During last quarter, the moon is positioned ahead of the Earth in our trip around the sun. About 3½ hours later, earth will occupy that same location in space. After last quarter, the waning moon traverses the last quarter of its orbit around the earth, on the way to new moon.
    January 11 - Waning Crescent Moon meets Mars and Jupiter, predawn east; see all three in one binocular view
    January 13 - Mercury passes Saturn, predawn southeast
    January 15 - Mercury and Saturn meet the Old Moon, predawn southeast. By August, planets will be in evening sky, will be fun to follow them month to month
    January 16 - New Moon. Hopefully I'll be at the dark site. And it will be clear.
    January 19 - **Double shadow transit on Jupiter**
    January 24 - First Quarter Moon. "At first quarter, the relative positions of the Earth, sun, and moon cause us to see the moon half illuminated - on the western (right-hand) side. First quarter moons rise around noon and set around midnight, so they are visible starting in the afternoon hours. The term quarter moon refers not to its appearance, but the fact that our natural satellite has now completely the first quarter of its orbit around Earth since the last new moon."
    January 26-27 - Moon Crosses January 31 - Full Supermoon, Total Lunar Eclipse and Blue Moonhe Bull's Face. The ecliptic passes through Taurus, one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac, or 13 if you count Ophiucus.
    January 31 - Ceres at opposition. Bright, mag 6.85, visible in binoculars all night but try to catch it before moon rises. In Cancer but Leo's head, the backward question mark, will get you there more easily. Use your phone app; how cool to see a dwarf planet.
    January 31 - Full Supermoon, Total Lunar Eclipse and Blue Moon. Should I visit my sister in Seattle?

Mercury - January 2018. January 1, Mercury will reach its greatest angle west of the sun; hour before sunrise, low in the east. Watch until it crosses ecliptic mid-month.
Venus - January 2018. Evening star late month.
Mars - January 2018. Catch mars rising before you leave for work, predawn skies.
Jupiter - January 2018. Climbs higher, earlier, through the month in predawn sky; Galilean moon shadow transits occur frequently during January, including several double shadow events.
Saturn - January 2018. "On Saturday morning, January 13, Mercury's sunward orbital motion will carry it past Saturn. Mercury, about twice as bright as Saturn, will be 0.75 degrees (or 1.5 full moon diameters) below and slightly to the right of the ringed planet."
Uranus - January 2018. "During January, Uranus is well placed in the evening sky, positioned between the two chains of faint stars that link the fishes of Pisces. By month end, the planet will be setting about 10:30 pm local time. At visual magnitude 5.7, Uranus is bright enough to observe in binoculars under dark sky conditions." May have to do a little trip to a park to attempt this one. Or use some aperture.
Rene Gedaly, Forum Moderator
Texas 45-Visual, Web Tech Team, Observatory Trainer, Historian, President 2015-2017
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