JUPITER’S MOONS JAN­UARY

Us­ing a small scope you’ll be able to spot Jupiter’s big­gest moons. Their po­si­tions change dra­mat­i­cally dur­ing the month, as shown on the di­a­gram. The line by each date on the left rep­re­sents 00:00 UT.

Sky at Night Magazine - - THE SKY GUIDE -

Mer­cury

Best time to see: 1 Jan­uary, 30 min­utes be­fore sun­rise Al­ti­tude: 1.5º (very low) Lo­ca­tion: Sagit­tar­ius Di­rec­tion: South­east Mer­cury starts Jan­uary as a morn­ing ob­ject but is so close to the Sun it’s dif­fi­cult to see. On 1 Jan­uary it’s at mag. –0.4, ap­pear­ing about an hour be­fore sun­rise above the south­east hori­zon. Su­pe­rior con­junc­tion oc­curs on 30 Jan­uary.

Mars

Best time to see: 1 Jan­uary, 18:00 UT Al­ti­tude: 36º Lo­ca­tion: Pisces Di­rec­tion: South Mars is an evening ob­ject in Pisces. Through a tele­scope, the mag. +0.5 planet ap­pears just 7 arc­sec­onds across on 1 Jan­uary, lo­cated south­east of the Cir­clet as­ter­ism. For the rest of the month Mars races east, re­main­ing in Pisces as it goes. By the end of the month, Mars is within the nar­row­ing wedge of stars rep­re­sent­ing the cord ty­ing the fishes of Pisces to­gether, slightly east of mag. +4.3 Ep­silon (¡) Pis­cium. The planet will dim to mag. +0.9 by 31 Jan­uary and tele­scop­i­cally will ap­pear just 6 arc­sec­onds across, its disc show­ing an 89%-lit phase.

Jupiter

Best time to see: 31 Jan­uary, from 06:00 UT Al­ti­tude: 7.5º (low) Lo­ca­tion: Ophi­uchus Di­rec­tion: South­east Jupiter rises a cou­ple of hours be­fore the Sun at the start of Jan­uary, shin­ing at mag. –1.6 against the stars rep­re­sent­ing Ophi­uchus’s legs. Mag. –4.4 Venus, Jupiter and mag. –0.4 Mer­cury ap­pear in a line on New Year’s Day, with a 21%-lit wan­ing cres­cent Moon 7° west of Venus. On 2 Jan­uary, the 13%-lit wan­ing cres­cent Moon sits be­tween Venus and Jupiter. On 3 Jan­uary a now 6%-lit Moon lies 2.3° north of Jupiter, an im­pres­sively close pair­ing. By the end of Jan­uary, Venus ap­pears to the east­north­east of Jupiter with both plan­ets re­joined by the wan­ing cres­cent Moon. On 30 Jan­uary the 25%-lit wan­ing Moon sits west of Jupiter. How­ever, this gets bet­ter the fol­low­ing morn­ing with a 17%-lit wan­ing cres­cent Moon lo­cated be­tween Venus and Jupiter – quite a spec­ta­cle for early ris­ers.

Saturn

Best time to see: 31 Jan­uary, 1 hour be­fore sun­rise Al­ti­tude: 1.6º (very low) Lo­ca­tion: Sagit­tar­ius Di­rec­tion: South­east Saturn’s too close to the Sun to be seen prop­erly this month. It may be glimpsed with the naked eye low in the south­east to­wards the end of Jan­uary, join­ing a line-up with mag. –4.1 Venus and mag –1.7 Jupiter.

Uranus

Best time to see: 1 Jan­uary, 19:10 UT Al­ti­tude: 47º Lo­ca­tion: Pisces Di­rec­tion: South Uranus is a well-placed evening ob­ject at the start of Jan­uary, vis­i­ble around 18:00 UT on New Year’s Day, close to its high­est point in the sky due south. By the end of Jan­uary, it will have drifted west. In the­ory mag. +5.8 Uranus should just be vis­i­ble to the naked eye from a dark-sky lo­ca­tion. It’s cur­rently lo­cated in Pisces.

Nep­tune

Best time to see: 1 Jan­uary, 18:20 UT Al­ti­tude: 25.5º Lo­ca­tion: Aquar­ius Di­rec­tion: West of south Nep­tune is in the south­west as dark­ness falls at the start of the month, then creeps west­ward. It’s low in the west-south­west as the sky darkens at the end of Jan­uary, shin­ing at mag. +7.9 all month. You’ll need at least binoc­u­lars to see it against the eastern stars of Aquar­ius.

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