Here is Wrexham.com’s guide to the January night sky, this is the first for this year and there will be one for each month coming up and going live on the 1st of each month, so that you can be ready to look up!
January is the best month for spotting some of the most famous stars. On a clear night the winter constellations can be incredible, giving you a great opportunity to start to find you way around the night sky if you’re a novice.
We wont be going into too much detail about the constellations here, there are various Apps and websites available to help you search for constellations and planets in the sky, but it’s much more fun to learn and teach yourself!
Planets on view in January
Some of you may have already spotted Jupiter in the sky at the moment, this giant will stay in our skys until the end of May so you have plenty of time to spot it yet!
Jupiter is found in the constellation of Taurus (look towards the south), it will be incredibly bright, outshining the other stars, making it incredibly difficult to miss. It will be in the night sky until around 4:30am and with a small telescope or small binoculars you should be able to spot one of its four moons.
Mars will also be on view for January, but not for long as it disappears from view at around 6pm each evening along with Neptune which will disappear from view around 7pm. By the end of January both of these planets will be lost in twilight so best to look for them earlier in the month.
If you look west, just visible to the naked eye will be Uranus, this will disappear from view at around 11pm in the evening.
For those early birds (or those late to bed) Saturn will be visible in the south-east from 2am onward and just before sunrise (about an hour and a half before) Venus will also be visible low in the south east but this is only for the beginning of the month, by the end of January it will be no longer visible.
Keep and eye out for….
With no further meteor showers this month the most spectacular sights to see are brought to us by the moon and it’s paring with firstly Venus at around 7am on January 10th and as it passes just below Jupiter on the 21/22 January.
An added Extra:
Looking south in the sky you will see Orions Belt (Three stars lined together) below Orions Belt lies a fuzzy patch which is visible to the naked eye on a very clear night and away from the glare of the town lights. u have binoculars or a telescope Orions Nebula will look like a small cloud in the sky. This fuzzy patch is the Orion Nebula, which may look small in the sky but it is some 1,300 light-years away!
The Orion Nebula is the closest ‘star factory’ to Earth and is where heavyweight stars are born. It has around 150 new stars in it, which are condensed out of dark dust and gas clouds that are around the Nebula.
11 January – New moon
27th Jan – Full Moon.
We hope you have found this guide useful – If there is anything you would like us to add to the guide or to our star-gazing coverage in general then please let us know!
We would also love some of your pictures of what you spot in the sky when your star-gazing so we can put together a gallery at the end of the month of all the best pictures, feel free to email them firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us @wrexham.
Image Credit: I Bončina – showing a time lapse of stars in the sky.