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What's Up...
Some observing hilights
to look forward to...

The following tips on current and upcoming astronomical events
have been gathered from magazines and other sources by Dave Gamble
with the objective of giving OC RASC members a heads-up on
special personal
astro-experiences to look forward to.

Thurs. Jan. 2 - This is First Quarter Moon night with our sentimental neighbour reprising the Christmas spirit, ornamenting the winter night sky with a bright, neatly divided decoration.

Fri. Jan. 3 - The Quadrantid meteor shower will peak early tomorrow morning. The Quadrantid stream is a generous one with frequencies that can reach up to 120 meteors per hour. This year the waxing gibbous Moon will interfere in the early evening, but from about 10pm onward as it sinks toward the west and the meteor radiant in the constellation Bootes rises higher into the eastern sky after midnight, there should be lots of 'shooting stars' to be seen, given clear skies.

Sat. Jan. 4 - Instead of being a pest this evening, La Luna will perform a favour for all of those who would like to get an early season peak at the ice giant Uranus. Look for the small pale green world about the width of three fingers above the Moon in the southern sky with binoculars or a telescope.

Sat. Jan. 4 – Temperatures may be on the cold side right now, but we can take some consolation from the fact that today the Earth is at perihelion, the point in its orbit when it is closest to the Sun. The exact time of closest distance will be at midnight tonight. Not that it makes that much difference… we are only 3% closer to the Sun than we were last July.

Tues. Jan. 7 - Tonight the waxing gibbous Moon poses in the midst of the stars of Taurus the bull.

Fri. Jan. 10 - This is Full Moon night with our neighbour shining at her brightest, lighting up the chilly Okanagan winter night. La Luna is only three days away from perihelion, the closest part of its orbit to Earth, so it will be delivering almost its best bang for the buck.

Sat. Jan. 11 - Tonight the just past full Moon will mingle with the stars in M44 the Beehive Cluster.

Thurs. Jan. 16 - Two red contenders will spar off low in the southeast sky before dawn this morning. Mars will shine about the width of three fingers above Antares (rival of Mars), the red super giant star in Scorpius.

Fri. Jan. 17 - This is Last Quarter Moon night signaling the approach of the next dark Moon period and the opportunity to dust off the telescope to seek out faint fuzzies and other deep sky wonders.

Sun. Jan. 19  – For those still in quest of seeing one of The Devil Star’s ‘blinks’,  Algol will reach its minimum brightness in a two hour time period centered at 10.36pm tonight. Compare its brightness with neighbouring stars in Perseus early in the evening and then check it out again around 10.30pm to see the difference in brightness.

Mon. Jan. 20 - Hearing about the dust-up between Mars and Antares on the 16th, the waning crescent Moon will check things out low in the southern pre-dawn sky. Only the width of one finger will separate our neighbour from the dueling duo.

Wed. Jan. 22 - Moving closer to the dawn sky, the fingernail crescent Moon will welcome Jupiter back into the night sky low on the southeastern horizon. The two will be only about a moon-width apart as the sky begins to brighten.

Fri. Jan. 24 - This is New Moon night with Luna tucked away between us and the Sun, leaving the night sky dark for deep sky observing, imaging and sketching.

Tues. Jan. 28 - There will be a beautiful conjunction of the very thin crescent Moon and brilliant Venus low in the southwestern sky just after nightfall this evening. About the width of three fingers will separate them.

Fri. Jan. 31 - The waxing crescent Moon will be in the vicinity of Uranus this evening. With binoculars, look for the pale green ice giant just above our neighbour.