December 30th – January 12th
If you missed out on the annual meteor showers on January 2nd & 3rd which peaked with an intensity of 50-100 meteor’s per hour, you are still in luck to view some. Although the display will be moderate, the Earth continues navigating its way through the Mural Quadrant debris field until January 12th offering a few more shooting stars to wish upon. Just before dawn is the best time to see them high in the northeast, just beyond the tip of the Big Dipper’s handle.
View the planets Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter and Venus. The Moon and Venus will rise together at 6:40am with the moon positioned two fingers width to the right of Venus, low in the southeast sky. Both will remain visible as the sun rises.
After sunset, look for a glimpse of Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter low in the southwest sky with best viewing to begin at 5:20pm. Jupiter will be at the top of the grouping with Mercury only a thumbs width below and to the left. Saturn will lie two fingers below the two and to the right.
The 7 Sisters will be visible high in the southern sky. Also called the Pleiades star cluster, the hot-blue constellation of sisters named Asterope, Merope, Electra, Maia, Taygeta, Celaeno, and Alcyone sit just west of their parents, Pleione & Atlas. Although only 6 of the 7 sisters are visible with the naked eye, hundreds of stars will appear within this gaseous, blue cloud belonging to the Taurus constellation when viewing through a magnified viewing device.
Observe the Full Wolf Moon, also referred to as the Moon after Yule, and the Old Moon. Rising at sunset and setting at sunrise, this full moon always appears near the star constellations of Gemini or Cancer.
Happy Sky Watching!
Look for night photography tips coming later this month.
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McClure, Bruce, March 25, 2020, Come to know the Big and Little Dippers, https://earthsky.org/favorite-star-patterns/big-and-little-dippers-highlight-northern-sky
Nasa Science, January 25, 2019, Meteors and Meteorites, https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/asteroids-comets-and-meteors/meteors-and-meteorites/overview/?page=0&per_page=40&order=id+asc&search=&condition_1=meteor_shower%3Abody_type
Sea and Sky, 2021, Astronomy Calendar of Celestial Events for Calendar Year 2021, http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2021.html
Vaughan, Chris, 2021, Best Night Sky Events, https://www.space.com/33974-best-night-sky-events.html
Zimmermann, Kim Ann, July 15, 2017, Cancer Constellation: Facts About The Crab, https://www.space.com/16970-cancer-constellation.html
Zimmermann, Kim Ann, February 19, 2019, Gemini Constellation: Facts About The Twins, https://www.space.com/16816-gemini-constellation.html
Zimmermann, Kim Ann, November 8, 2018, Taurus Constellation: Facts About The Bull, https://www.space.com/17101-taurus-constellation.html