On Thursday January 12, Venus will reach it’s point furthest east of the Sun, reaching it’s highest point in the night sky. It is also in a crescent phase which is fun through strong binoculars or a telescope.
Neptune isn’t so easy to see but will be close to Venus this month and will be to the lower left of Venus. You might catch both in the field of view of a low power eyepiece in a small telescope.
Look for Venus and Neptune in the SW after sunset (Venus is actually visible before sunset. At -4.5 magnitude, it is the second brightest object in the night sky, right behind the moon. With a magnitude of about 8 Neptune is not visible to the naked eye, but being so close to Venus makes it easy to pick up in a small scope). The weather doesn’t look good for Jan 12 but it does for Jan 13 so give it a try!
While Mars far away from us compared to last year, it is still easily visible in the southwestern sky. It is the unmistakable red object and is visible from sunset until it sets about 9:45 pm.
Uranus is visible in Pisces from sunset until it sets around midnight through binoculars or telescope. At magnitude 5.8 it is not easy to see unaided.
Tuesday, January 17, asteroid Vesta reaches opposition, the date when it is closest to earth and brightest at magnitude 6, it is visible to the naked eye, binoculars, and telescopes.
For early risers, look for Mercury during most of January in the east for about an hour before sunrise. It is a tricky one because it is pretty low in the sky, and terrain can easily block it.
Saturn is a bit higher and to the right of Mercury in the eastern predawn sky. A beauty through even a modest telescope, Saturn never disappoints.
The King rises in the east around midnight and is visible until sunrise where he will be found in the south. Four of Jupiter’s moons are visible in a small scope.
Clear, dark skies!