New Moon: 6th
First Quarter: 14th
Full Moon: 21st
Last Quarter: 27th
Total Lunar Eclipse.
A total lunar eclipse will be visible in the Americas and much of Western Europe on
January 20 – 21, 2019, beginning at 9:33 pm, with full eclipse beginning around 11:40 pm.
|| Eastern Time
||Visible in Vermont
|Penumbral Eclipse begins||Jan 21 – 02:36||Jan 20 – 9:36 pm||Yes|
|Partial Eclipse begins||Jan 21 – 03:33||Jan 20 at 10:33 pm||Yes|
|Full Eclipse begins||Jan 21 – 04:41||Jan 20 – 11:41 pm||Yes|
|Maximum Eclipse||Jan 21 – 05:12||Jan 21 – 12:12 am||Yes|
|Full Eclipse ends||Jan 21 – 05:43||Jan 21 – 12:43 am||Yes|
|Partial Eclipse ends||Jan 21 – 06:50||Jan 21 – 1:50 am||Yes|
|Penumbral Eclipse ends||Jan 21 – 07:48||Jan 21 – 2:48 am||Yes|
MERCURY – Not this month
Mercury will not be observable during January since it is moving behind the Sun
VENUS – High and Bright!
Venus will be found easily int the pre-dawn sky, rising around 3:30 am at the start of the month and 4:15 am at the end. Super easy to identify as it is the brightest object in the morning sky (besides the Sun and Moon). Venus will be at its highest in the sky this month. Big binoculars or a small telescope should reveal the phase of Venus.
MARS – conspicuous and easy, but fading away.
As Mars keeps moving further away from the Earth it will continue to appear smaller and dimmer in brightness At this distance it will be difficult to see any surface detail in small and medium telescopes. It sets around 11pm.
JUPITER – The King is back!
Jupiter rises in the predawn East around 5:15 am at the beginning of the month, and 3:45 am at the end, so observing should improve as Jupiter climbs higher in the sky with time, and will continue to improve in the early morning sky during the coming months.
SATURN- Not until the end of the month.
You may get a peek at Saturn very low above the south-eastern horizon during the last week of the month, as it re-emerges from behind the sun, but it won’t be easy because it will be so low (around 8*). It will continue to improve in the morning sky during the coming months.
URANUS past Opposition, but still a good evening object!
Opposition for Uranus was October 23 so it is still fairly big and bright…for Uranus!
Uranus is still easy to see with binoculars this month, and visible throughout the evening into the early hours, but will continue to get lower in the sky as time goes by. Use a tripod to steady the binoculars. It sets around 1:40 am at the beginning of the month, and around 11:40 pm at the end of the month. It is a beautiful turquoise color is great through binoculars or a telescope.
NEPTUNE – Never easy…but worth it.
Neptune sets around 09:45 pm at the beginning of the month and around 7:50 pm at the end. You will need binoculars or a telescope to see it, shining at magnitude 7.9 in Aquarius. Make no mistake; it is not easy and you will likely need a telescope of 8 inch and larger aperture to resolve the planet. It is very far away and very dim.
The Quadrantid meteor shower is expected to peak on the night of January 3rd – 4th 2019 though meteor activity may occur for two or three days on either side of this expected peak date. The New Moon on January 5th should help with dark skies.
A short-period comet, Comet Wirtanen takes 5.4 years to orbit the Sun. It made a close pass (7.26 million miles) by Earth in December 16, 2018 and was barely naked eye visible when I was able to observe it from our dark Vermont skies. It will continue to be visible throughout the month but will fade away towards the end of January.
– 12/10/18 Comet Wirtanen (was naked eye (barely) from my location in Dorset, Vermont, the night of December 10, 2018. Still fuzzy, poorly defined, and no visible tail through 15×70 binoculars)
– 12/12/18 Not so great seeing conditions. Comet Wirtanen was barely naked-eye visible from my location in Dorset, Vermont, if you knew where to look (above and to the left of Menkar, Alpha Cetus). Still quite faint, fuzzy, better defined, and no visible tail through 15×70 binoculars). A fair number of meteors tonight as the Geminids approach.
– 01/02/19 Conditions have been quite cloudy overall during the past few weeks, however there have been a few occasions with brilliantly clear, dark skies for brief periods in this part of Vermont. At those times it has been wonderful observing!