What’s in the Sky - January 2021
Happy New Year!
Last Quarter 6th
New Moon 13th
First Quarter 21st
Full Moon 29th
Earth at perihelion (closest to the Sun): 3rd
Jupiter & Saturn are low in the western sky after sunset in the first week of the month. They will then disappear from our evening sky, returning to the early morning sky in mid-February.
Mars is high in the northwestern sky after sunset, starting the month in the constellation of Pisces. The Red Planet will then move into Aries on the 6th.
Mercury makes a return to the evening twilight sky from the 9th, however it will take a keen eye and a very clear western horizon to spot it. As the month progresses, Mercury will move a little higher in the western sky though still quite close to the horizon. After the 24th Mercury will disappear below the western horizon.
Venus is low in the eastern sky just before sunrise in the constellation Ophiuchus. On the 6th, the brilliantly shining planet moves into the constellation Sagittarius where it will remain for the rest of the month.
Worth a Look:
12th: The slender waning crescent Moon and Venus are very close together (less than one degree) in the early morning twilight. A good opportunity for wide-field photographers.
14th: In the western sky after sunset the 1-day old waxing crescent Moon joins Mercury close to the horizon. Binoculars may be needed to see the elusive Mercury and it may also be possible to catch a glimpse of Jupiter before it disappears from the evening sky.
21st: The waxing gibbous Moon will be directly above the red planet Mars in the northwestern sky.
You can download a star map for January here.
Dawes G., Northfield P., Wallace K. (2020). Astronomy 2021 Australia, Quasar Publishing.
Lomb, N. (2020). 2021 Australasian sky guide. Ultimo, NSW: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Media.