• Mel Hulbert

What’s in the Sky - January 2022

Happy New Year!


Moon Phase:

New Moon 3rd

First Quarter 10th

Full Moon 18th

Last Quarter 26th


Earth at perihelion (closest to the Sun): 4th


Planets:

Evening Sky

Mercury is visible in the western evening twilight sky. It is in the constellation Capricornus where it will remain until it is lost in the twilight glare in the middle of the month, as it moves towards inferior conjunction (when Mercury or Venus passes between the Earth and the Sun) on the 23rd. In the last few days of the month, Mercury returns to the morning sky, low in the eastern twilight.

Jupiter is in the western sky after sunset in the constellation Aquarius.

Saturn is low in the western sky after sunset in the constellation Capricornus and by mid-month the ringed planet will be lost in the twilight glare.

Morning Sky

Mars is in the eastern morning sky before dawn, spending the first two-thirds of the month in the constellation Ophiuchus before moving into Sagittarius on the 20th.

Venus is at inferior conjunction on the 9th, after which it returns to the eastern dawn sky in the middle of the month.

Mercury returns to the morning sky, low in the eastern twilight in the last few days of the month.


Worth a Look:

1st: The Moon and Mars have a close encounter, visible from southeastern Australia. In Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide, the Moon will occult the Red Planet. Canberra and Melbourne will see Mars disappear behind the Moon about 30 minutes before sunrise. Adelaide has the best views with Mars disappearing 70 minutes before sunrise and reappearing 30 minutes later (40 minutes before sunrise). Sydney-siders will see Mars a mere 4 arc minutes from the limb of the Moon. Binoculars or a telescope will provide a detailed views of the event and it will also be a great opportunity for astro-imagers and photographers.

4th: The narrow waxing crescent Moon is above Mercury and below and to the south (left) of Saturn in the western evening twilight. This is a great opportunity for wide-field photographers.

6th: The waxing crescent Moon is directly above Jupiter in the western evening sky.

13th: Mercury and Saturn are 3.4 degrees apart, low in the western evening twilight. Only worth a look if you have a good east horizon and if so, a good opportunity for wide-field photographers.

30th: The waning crescent Moon is below and to the south (right) of Mars in the eastern morning sky.

31st: The waning crescent Moon is above and to the south (right) of Mercury. With Venus and Mars higher in the eastern morning sky, this provides a good opportunity for wide-field photographers.


You can download a star map for January here.

Clear Skies!



References:

Dawes G., Northfield P., Wallace K. (2020). Astronomy 2022 Australia, Quasar Publishing.

Lomb, N. (2021). 2022 Australasian sky guide. Ultimo, NSW: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Media.