What’s Up in the Night Sky – January 2017

Written by  Wednesday, 11 January 2017 12:19
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I hope the New Year finds you all raring to get out there and find all the adventures and challenges that our beautiful skies have to offer!  Of course, the minus temperatures demand dressing carefully to keep warm but the crisp, clear vista overhead that comes with the below zero weather sure makes it worth it. I won’t tell you how to dress to fend off icicle formation at the end of your nose since we should be winter experts by now but here’s some tips that you might find useful.  Wear your warmest boots.  It is surprising how much heat is lost through your feet while standing out in the snow.  Use hand warmers wrapped around your binoculars to keep the eyepieces (ocular lenses) and the objective lenses frost free (and your hands warm!).  Wear the warmest hat that you own to avoid your ears falling off and your brain turning into an ice cube.   Dress yourself in layers to trap body heat. I sneak inside every now and then for something scalding hot to recuperate.

You might be able to catch a glimpse of Comet 45P as it passes through Aquarius at mid month.  You will have to go out with your binoculars as soon as it’s dark in order to find it before Aquarius sets in the west.

This month:
12th:  Full Moon. It is known as the Full Wolf Moon.   Watch out!  They’re pretty hungry this time of year.
18th:  The Moon is just north of Jupiter near midnight.
24th:  The Moon is north of Saturn about 5 am.
31st:  If you want to try seeing bright Venus in daylight, look for the Moon to pass about 4 degrees south of Venus about 10 am.                                             
At around 8 pm, the Moon is about 2 degrees south of Mars.

February should find us back on a post holiday schedule for this column.  In the meantime, have a good month, Happy New Year and keep looking up!  You can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to ask questions or report any unusual sights in the night sky. 

Clear Skies! Fred

I hope the New Year finds you all raring to get out there and find all the adventures and challenges that our beautiful skies have to offer!  Of course, the minus temperatures demand dressing carefully to keep warm but the crisp, clear vista overhead that comes with the below zero weather sure makes it worth it. I won’t tell you how to dress to fend off icicle formation at the end of your nose since we should be winter experts by now but here’s some tips that you might find useful.  Wear your warmest boots.  It is surprising how much heat is lost through your feet while standing out in the snow.  Use hand warmers wrapped around your binoculars to keep the eyepieces (ocular lenses) and the objective lenses frost free (and your hands warm!).  Wear the warmest hat that you own to avoid your ears falling off and your brain turning into an ice cube.   Dress yourself in layers to trap body heat. I sneak inside every now and then for something scalding hot to recuperate.

You might be able to catch a glimpse of Comet 45P as it passes through Aquarius at mid month.  You will have to go out with your binoculars as soon as it’s dark in order to find it before Aquarius sets in the west.

  This month:

12th:  Full Moon. It is known as the Full Wolf Moon.   Watch out!  They’re pretty hungry this time of year.

18th:  The Moon is just north of Jupiter near midnight.

24th:  The Moon is north of Saturn about 5 am.

31st:  If you want to try seeing bright Venus in daylight, look for the Moon to pass about 4 degrees south of Venus about 10 am.                                             

At around 8 pm, the Moon is about 2 degrees south of Mars.

February should find us back on a post holiday schedule for this column.  In the meantime, have a good month, Happy New Year and keep looking up!  You can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to ask questions or report any unusual sights in the night sky. 

Clear Skies! Fred

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