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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.

Fri. Jan 1 - Starting their farewell waves, Jupiter and Saturn move about a Moon’s width apart tonight low in the southwest sky after sunset.

Sat. Jan. 2 – 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.  Not that it makes that much difference… we are only 3% closer to the Sun than we were last July.

Sat. Jan. 2 - 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, however this year the waning gibbous Moon will increasingly interfere after midnight and toward dawn. The official peak will be at 9.30am on Sunday. The meteor radiant is in the constellation Bootes which rises higher into the eastern sky after midnight.

Wed. Jan. 6 - This is Last Quarter Moon night with Luna rising in the wee hours to brighten the winter sky and snow covered yards and fields.

Sun. Jan. 10 - As Jupiter and Saturn sink further into the sunset twilight they will be joined by their innermost cousin Mercury tonight, very low in the southwest sky just after sunset.

Mon. Jan. 11 - The conjunction interest will shift to the pre-dawn sky this morning when the fingernail paring waning crescent Moon will come less than the width of three fingers from brilliant Venus as they rise over the eastern mountains.

Mon. Jan. 11 - Not to be undone by celestial closeness, just after sunset tonight Jupiter will cozy up even closer to Mercury. Only the width of three moon widths will separate them.

Wed. Jan. 13 - This is New Moon time with our neighbour out of the way in the Sun’s direction, leaving any clear nights open for deep sky observing, sketching and imaging.

Thurs. Jan. 14 – 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 centred at 11.12pm tonight. Compare its brightness with neighbouring stars in Perseus early in the evening and then check it out again around 11pm to see the difference in brightness.

Sun. Jan. 17 - As the thin crescent Moon rises this evening it will be in the vicinity of the outer ice giant Neptune. It will take a telescope, but the tiny bluish ‘star’ can be found less than the width of three fingers north of Luna.

Sun. Jan. 17 -  Algol the Devil Star will put on another performance this evening. The eclipsing binary star will be at minimum brightness from 10 to midnight. You might compare its brightness with neighbouring stars in Perseus before 10pm and then again in mid eclipse around 11pm to catch the difference.

Wed. Jan. 20 - Tonight is First Quarter Moon night, and our neatly divided partner will celebrate this special phase brightening the early Okanagan evening in the company of Mars which will be about the width of three fingers away. To add even more to the experience, binoculars will reveal the light green ’star’ Uranus just to the  left of a line between them.

Thurs. Jan. 21 - Mars and Uranus will pass each other in the sky tonight. Mars will provide the fingerpost with the tiny pale green disk of the ice giant planet appearing about three moon widths to the south.

Fri. Jan. 23 - Now in a waxing gibbous phase, Luna will be in the neighbourhood of Aldebaran and the Hyades in Taurus to brighten tonight’s sky.

Fri. Jan. 23 - It will be tricky, but for those who would like to catch a glimpse of the innermost planet, there will be a chance to see Mercury at its greatest eastern elongation with binoculars, very low in the western sky just after the sun sets.

Tues. Jan. 26 - Ever the celestial tour guide, the engorging Moon moves over into Gemini tonight, posing below the stellar twins Castor and Pollux.

Thurs. Jan. 28 - This is Full Moon night with Luna riding high in the constellation of Cancer, nestled between Leo’s reverse question mark asterism and the celestial twins Castor and Pollux in Gemini.

Fri. Jan. 29 - Tonight the just past full Moon will check out the reverse question mark to see how things are coming along as this constellation prepares to come on stage as the leading spring constellation.