What’s in the Sky – January 2023
Happy New Year!
Full Moon 7th
Last Quarter 15th
New Moon 22nd
First Quarter 29th
Earth at perihelion (closest to the Sun): 5th
Venus starts the month low in the western evening sky in the constellation Sagittarius and will slowly gain altitude as the month progresses. On the 22nd and 23rd, Venus and Saturn will be less than one degree apart in the sky.
Mars is high in the northern sky after sunset, in the constellation Taurus. Mars is not far from the bright orange giant star, Aldebaran, however Mars is easy to pick, being the brighter of the two.
Jupiter is high in the north-western sky after sunset, in the constellation Pisces. Jupiter is easy to spot as it shines brightly in a region with few bright stars.
Saturn is low in the western sky after sunset, in the constellation Capricornus. As the month progresses, the ringed planet will move closer to the horizon as it approaches solar conjunction next month. After it’s close encounter with Venus, Saturn will become difficult to see, eventually disappearing below the horizon a few days before the end of the month.
Mercury is low in the eastern morning sky from about mid-month and will gradually gain altitude as the month progresses. This is one of the best times to see Mercury in the morning sky and it will reach its greatest elongation (greatest angular distance) from the Sun on the 30th and will be 25 degrees west of the Sun.
Worth a Look:
3rd: The waxing gibbous Moon passes within five degrees of the red planet, Mars.
22nd & 23rd: Venus and Saturn are less than one degree apart. On the 23r, the waxing crescent Moon joins the pair in the western twilight sky. The trio will be a great opportunity for wide-field photographers, best imaged and viewed about 45 minutes after sunset, but before astronomical twilight.
26th: The waxing crescent Moon is about four degrees from the largest planet in our Solar System, Jupiter.
31st: The waxing gibbous Moon is about three degrees from the red planet, Mars.
You can download a star map for January here.
Dawes G., Northfield P., Wallace K. (2020). Astronomy 2023 Australia, Quasar Publishing.