January Celestial Calendar by Dave Mitsky
All times are UT (subtract five hours, and one calendar day when appropriate, for EST)
1/1 The Moon is at perigee, subtending 33' 23" from a distance of 358,033 kilometers (222,471 miles), at 22:55
1/2 Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) is at perihelion today; New Moon (lunation 1225) occurs at 18:33
1/3 The peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower (40 to 120 or more per hour) occurs today
1/4 The latest sunrise of the year at latitude 40 degrees north occurs today; the Earth is at perihelion (147,105,053 kilometers or 91,406,842 miles distant from the Sun) at 6:55; the Moon is four degrees south of Saturn at 17:00
1/6 The Moon is 4 degrees south of Jupiter at 0:00
1/7 The latest onset of morning twilight of the year at latitude 40 degrees north occurs today; the Moon is 4 degrees south of Neptune at 10:00; Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation (19.2 degrees) at 11:00
1/9 Mercury is at dichotomy (50% illuminated) today; Venus is in inferior conjunction at 1:00; First Quarter Moon occurs at 18:11
1/10 The Lunar X (the Purbach or Werner Cross), an X-shaped clair-obscure illumination effect involving various rims and ridges between the craters La Caille, Blanchinus, and Purbach, is predicted to be fully formed at approximately at 2:30
1/11 The Moon is 1.5 degrees south of Uranus at 11:00; asteroid 3 Juno is in conjunction with the Sun at 22:00
1/13 The Moon is 1.2 degrees north of the dwarf planet/asteroid 1 Ceres at 0:00; asteroid 7 Iris (magnitude +7.7) is at opposition in Gemini at 21:00
1/14 Mercury is stationary at 1:00; the Moon is at apogee, subtending 29' 27" from a distance of 405,805 kilometers (252,155 miles), at 9:26
1/16 Pluto is in conjunction with the Sun at 15:00; the dwarf planet/asteroid 1 Ceres is stationary at 22:00
1/17 Full Moon (known as the Ice Moon, the Moon after Yule, the Old Moon, and the Wolf Moon) occurs at 23:48
1/18 Uranus is stationary at 20:00
1/23 Mercury is in inferior conjunction at 10:00
1/26 Last Quarter Moon occurs at 13:41; the Curtiss Cross, an X-shaped clair-obscure illumination effect located between the craters Parry and Gambart, is predicted to begin at 5:54
1/29 Venus is stationary at 8:00; the Moon is 2 degrees south of Mars at 15:00
1/30 The Moon is 10 degrees south of Venus at 2:00; the Moon is at perigee, subtending 32' 59" from a distance of 362,252 kilometers (225,093 miles), at 7:11
Galileo Galilei discovered Io, Europa, and Callisto on January 7, 1610. Galileo Galilei discovered Ganymede on January 13, 1610. Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille discovered the emission nebula NGC 3372 (the Eta Carinae Nebula) on January 25, 1752. Charles Messier discovered the globular cluster M56 on January 23, 1779. Charles Messier discovered the globular cluster M80 on January 4, 1781. William Herschel discovered the spiral galaxy NGC 1084 on January 10, 1785. Pierre François André Méchain discovered Comet 2P/Encke on January 17, 1786. William Herschel discovered Titania and Oberon, two satellites of Uranus, on January 11, 1787. Giuseppe Piazzi discovered the first asteroid, 1 Ceres, on January 1, 1801. Louis Daguerre took the first photograph of the Moon on January 2, 1839. Alvan Clark discovered the white dwarf star Sirius B (the Pup) on January 31, 1862. The 36-inch Clark refractor at the Lick Observatory saw first light on January 3, 1888. Charles Perrine discovered the Jovian satellite Elara on January 2, 1905. Philibert Jacques Melotte discovered the Jovian satellite Pasiphae on January 27, 1908. Clyde Tombaugh photographed Pluto on January 23, 1930. Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz discovered Eris on January 5, 2005.
The Quadrantid meteor shower is predicted to peak on January 3rd. The radiant lies at the junction of the constellations of Boötes, Hercules, and Draco, in what was once called Quadrans Muralis, and will be about 40 degrees in altitude at 4:00 a.m. local time. Moonlight will not compromise the peak of this year’s Quadrantids. The Quadrantid shower can sometimes reach zenithal hourly rates of more than 100 meteors per hour for a relatively short period of time. The near-Earth asteroid 2003 EH1, which may be an extinct comet, is believed to be the source of these meteors. See https://earthsky.org...d-meteor-shower for more on the Quadrantids. The major meteor showers occurring this year are discussed at https://www.highpoin...showers-in-2022 and https://amsmeteors.o...hower-calendar/
Information on passes of the ISS, the X-37B, the Tiangong, the HST, Starlink, and other satellites can be found at http://www.heavens-above.com/
The Moon is 27.5 days old, is illuminated 5.7%, subtends 32.8 arc minutes, and is located in Ophiuchus on January 1st at 0:00 UT. Favorable librations for the following lunar features occur on the indicated dates: Crater Vashakidze on January 7th, Crater Wilson on January 16th, Crater Pilâtre on January 18th, and Crater Baade on January 22nd. New Moon occurs on January 2nd. Perigee occurs on January 1st and apogee on January 14th. The Walther Lunar Sunrise Light Ray is predicted to be visible at 1:31 a.m. EST (6:31 UT) on January 10th. The Moon lies some four degrees below the bright open cluster M45 (the Pleiades) in Taurus on the evening of January 12th. The Moon lies about six degrees from Aldebaran on the evening of January 13th, about four degrees from Pollux on the morning of January 17th, about four degrees from Regulus on the morning of January 20th, and about five degrees from Spica on the morning of January 24th. Browse http://www.lunar-occ...ota/iotandx.htm for information on lunar occultation events occurring this month. Visit https://saberdoesthe...does-the-stars/ for tips on spotting extreme crescent Moons and https://curtrenz.com/moon.html for Full Moon and other lunar data. Browse https://skyandtelesc...ads/MoonMap.pdf and https://celestron-si...RReeves-web.pdf and https://nightsky.jpl...ObserveMoon.pdf for simple lunar maps. Click on https://astrostrona.pl/moon-map/ for an excellent online lunar map. Visit http://www.ap-i.net/avl/en/start to download the free Virtual Moon Atlas. Consult http://time.unitariu...moon/where.html for current information on the Moon and https://www.fourmila.../lunarform.html for information on various lunar features. See https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4955 for a lunar phase and libration calculator and https://quickmap.lro...2vIBvAXwF1SizSg for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Quickmap. Click on https://www.calendar...ar/2022/january for a lunar phase calendar for this month. Times and dates for the lunar crater light rays predicted to occur this month are available at http://www.lunar-occ...o/rays/rays.htm
The Sun is located in Sagittarius on January 1st. It enters Capricornus on January 19th.
Data (magnitude, apparent size, illumination, and distance from the Earth in astronomical units) for the planets and Pluto on January 1st: Mercury (-0.7, 5.9", 78%, 1.14 a.u., Sagittarius), Venus (-4.3, 60.9", 2%, 0.27 a.u., Sagittarius), Mars (+1.5, 4.0", 98%, 2.34 a.u., Ophiuchus), Jupiter (-2.1, 35.4", 99%, 5.57 a.u., Aquarius), Saturn (+0.7, 15.5", 100%, 10.75 a.u., Capricornus), Uranus (+5.7, 3.6", 100%, 19.44 a.u. on January 16th, Aries), Neptune (+7.9, 2.2", 100%, 30.47 a.u. on January 16th, Aquarius), Pluto (+14.4, 0.1", 100%, 35.43 a.u. on January 16th, Sagittarius).
During the evening, Uranus lies in the south, Venus, Jupiter, and Neptune lie in the southwest, and Mercury and Saturn lie in the west. At midnight, Uranus is in the west. Venus and Mars can be seen in the southeast in the morning.
A 2%-illuminated waxing crescent Moon joins Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter in the southwestern sky on the morning of January 3rd. The four planets span almost forty degrees. Click on https://www.facebook...30489853707136/ for a graphic showing the planetary lineup on that date. The waning crescent Moon, Mars, and Venus grace the southeastern morning sky on January 29th.
Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation on January 7th, is at dichotomy on January 9th, and attains its highest altitude in evening sky on January 11th. The speediest planet is in conjunction with Saturn on January 12th and is stationary on January 14th with retrograde (westward) motion to begin. Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the Sun (latitude north 3.3 degrees) on January 23rd and is closest to the Earth (0.6610 astronomical units) on January 24th.
Venus decreases in angular diameter from 60.9 to 50.0 arc seconds but increases in illumination from 2 to 15% this month. Venus sets 60 minutes after the Sun on January 1st. The brightest planet is closest to the Earth (0.2568 astronomical units) and is inferior conjunction with the Sun (latitude north 4.8 degrees) on January 8th. Venus reappears in the morning sky around the middle of January. It is stationary on January 29th. By the end of the month, Venus reaches an altitude of about twelve degrees an hour before sunrise.
Earth is 147,105,053 kilometers (91,406,842 miles) distant from the Sun at perihelion on January 4th. On that date, it’s about 3% (5.0 million kilometers or 3.1 million miles) closer to the Sun than at aphelion on July 4th and about 2.7% closer to the Sun than on average. The Earth receives about 7% more solar energy at perihelion than at aphelion. Since the Earth is moving faster in its elliptical orbit at perihelion, the northern hemisphere winter is four days shorter than its summer.
The apparent brightness of Mars is greater than magnitude +1.5 on January 11th. The Red Planet exits Ophiuchus and enters Sagittarius on January 15th. Mars passes within 30 arc minutes of the open cluster NGC 6530 on January 26th. A waning crescent Moon passes three degrees south of Mars an hour before sunrise on the morning of January 29th. Mars lies 1.3 degrees northwest of the globular cluster M28 as January comes to a close.
On the first day of 2022, Jupiter is approximately 30 degrees in altitude an hour after sunset. By January 31st, Jupiter is only eleven degrees in altitude 60 minutes after the Sun sets. A waxing crescent Moon passes four degrees south of Jupiter on the evening of January 5th. A shadow transit by the Galilean satellite Ganymede begins at 6:22 p.m. EST (23:22 UT) on January 5th. Information on Great Red Spot transit times and Galilean satellite events is available on pages 50 and 51 of the December 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope and online at https://skyandtelesc...watching-tools/
Saturn and a very slender waxing crescent Moon are separated by about five degrees on the evening of January 4th. Saturn and Mercury are separated by a bit more than three degrees on the mornings of January 12th and January 13th. The Ringed Planet grows lower in altitude this month with each passing day and is just five degrees in altitude a half hour after sunset on January 20th.
Uranus is located about 5.3 degrees northwest of the fourth-magnitude star Mu Ceti. The waxing gibbous Moon passes 1.5 degrees south of Uranus on January 11th. The first planet to be discovered with a telescope is stationary on January 18th with prograde or direct (eastward) motion to begin. Uranus is at eastern quadrature (90 degrees east of the Sun) on January 26th. Visit http://www.nakedeyep....com/uranus.htm for a finder chart.
Neptune is located 3.3 degrees northeast of the fourth-magnitude star Phi Aquarii as January begins. By the end of the month, the ice giant planet's eastward motion has placed it four degrees northeast of that star and only five arc minutes from a sixth-magnitude field star. The waxing crescent Moon passes four degrees south of Neptune on January 7th. Browse http://www.nakedeyep...com/neptune.htm for a finder chart.
Finder charts for Uranus and Neptune and an article on observing the ice giants can be found at https://skyandtelesc...une-and-uranus/
See http://www.curtrenz.com/uranep.html for additional information on the two outer planets.
The dwarf planet Pluto is in conjunction with the Sun on January 16th.
For more on the planets and how to locate them, browse http://www.nakedeyeplanets.com/
The graphic at https://www.timeandd...lanets/distance displays the apparent and comparative sizes of the planets, along with their magnitudes and distances, for a given date and time.
A guide to planetary observing for the year by the British magazine The Sky at Night is posted at https://www.skyatnig...nets-night-sky/
The dwarf planet/asteroid 1 Ceres shines at eighth magnitude as it heads slowly northward through Taurus. It passes close to the sixth-magnitude stars 13 and 14 Tauri, which lie to the south of M45, at the end of the month. Asteroid 7 Iris has a brightness of eighth magnitude when it reaches opposition in Gemini on January 13th. Asteroid 44 Nysa shines at tenth magnitude as it passes through the open cluster NGC 1647 in eastern Taurus from January 28th to February 3rd. See http://asteroidoccul.../2022_01_si.htm for information on asteroid occultation events taking place this month. A list of the best occultations of the year can be found at https://www.asteroid...-BestEvents.htm
During January, Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) drops to 12th magnitude. Comet Leonard is at perihelion on January 2nd. C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) is at perihelion on January 10th. The tenth-magnitude periodic comet 19P/Borrelly travels northeastward through Cetus. It lies to the west of the second-magnitude star Diphda (Beta Ceti) on January 1st and passes within four degrees of the dwarf galaxy IC 1613 from January 24 through January 27th. The periodic comet 67/Churyumov-Gerasimenko may reach tenth magnitude and is located near M44 in Cancer. Visit https://cobs.si/ and http://cometchasing.skyhound.com/ and http://www.aerith.ne...t/future-n.html for information on these and other comets visible this month. Articles on what may be the notable comets of the coming year can be seen at http://astro.vanbuit.../Comets2022.pdf and https://people.ast.c...jds/preds22.pdf
A list of the closest approaches of comets to the Earth is posted at http://www.cometogra.../nearcomet.html
An article on some of the astronomical events taking place in the coming year can be found at https://www.universe...he-coming-year/
Omicron2 (40) Eridani is a fourth-magnitude triple star system consisting of three dwarf stars: a type K1V yellow-orange dwarf known as Keid, a type DA4 white dwarf, and a type M4.5e red dwarf. Omicron is located about 16 light years from the Earth at 4h15m16.32s, -7°39′10.34″. Ninth-magnitude Omicron B is the most easily visible white dwarf star and can be seen with an aperture of six inches.
The famous eclipsing variable star Algol (Beta Persei) is at a minimum, decreasing in magnitude from 2.1 to 3.4, on January 3rd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, 28th, and 31st. The Demon Star is at minimum brightness for approximately two hours and is well-placed for observers in North America on the night of January 2nd, centered at 7:01 p.m. EST. Minima can also be observed on the night of January 19th, centered at 11:56 p.m. EST, and on the evening of January 22th, centered at 8:46 p.m. EST. Consult page 50 of the January 2022 issue of Sky & Telescope for the times of the minima. See http://stars.astro.i.../sow/Algol.html and http://www.solstatio...ars2/algol3.htm for more on Algol.
Data on current supernovae can be found at http://www.rochester...y.org/snimages/
Information on observing some of the more prominent Messier galaxies is available at http://www.cloudynig...ur-astronomers/
Telrad finder charts for the Messier Catalog and the SAC’s 110 Best of the NGC are posted at http://www.custerobs...cs/messier2.pdf and http://www.star-shin...ssierTelrad.htm and http://sao64.free.fr...ataloguesac.pdf
Author Phil Harrington offers an excellent freeware planetarium program for binocular observers known as TUBA (Touring the Universe through Binoculars Atlas) at http://www.philharrington.net/tuba.htm
Some binocular deep-sky object targets for January are shown in the graphic at https://www.facebook...947203358658459
Deep-sky object list generators can be found at http://www.virtualcolony.com/sac/ and https://telescopius.com/ and http://tonightssky.com/MainPage.php
Freeware sky atlases can be downloaded at http://www.deepskywa...-atlas-full.pdf and https://www.cloudyni...ar-charts-r1021 and https://allans-stuff.com/triatlas/
One hundred and five binary and multiple stars for January: Omega Aurigae, 5 Aurigae, Struve 644, 14 Aurigae, Struve 698, Struve 718, 26 Aurigae, Struve 764, Struve 796, Struve 811, Theta Aurigae (Auriga); Struve 485, 1 Camelopardalis, Struve 587, Beta Camelopardalis, 11 & 12 Camelopardalis, Struve 638, Struve 677, 29 Camelopardalis, Struve 780 (Camelopardalis); h3628, Struve 560, Struve 570, Struve 571, Struve 576, 55 Eridani, Struve 596, Struve 631, Struve 636, 66 Eridani, Struve 649 (Eridanus); Kappa Leporis, South 473, South 476, h3750, h3752, h3759, Beta Leporis, Alpha Leporis, h3780, Lallande 1, h3788, Gamma Leporis (Lepus); Struve 627, Struve 630, Struve 652, Phi Orionis, Otto Struve 517, Beta Orionis (Rigel), Struve 664, Tau Orionis, Burnham 189, h697, Struve 701, Eta Orionis, h2268, 31 Orionis, 33 Orionis, Delta Orionis (Mintaka), Struve 734, Struve 747, Lambda Orionis, Theta-1 Orionis (the Trapezium), Theta-2 Orionis, Iota Orionis, Struve 750, Struve 754, Sigma Orionis, Zeta Orionis (Alnitak), Struve 790, 52 Orionis, Struve 816, 59 Orionis, 60 Orionis (Orion); Struve 476, Espin 878, Struve 521, Struve 533, 56 Persei, Struve 552, 57 Persei (Perseus); Struve 479, Otto Struve 70, Struve 495, Otto Struve 72, Struve 510, 47 Tauri, Struve 517, Struve 523, Phi Tauri, Burnham 87, Xi Tauri, 62 Tauri, Kappa & 67 Tauri, Struve 548, Otto Struve 84, Struve 562, 88 Tauri, Struve 572, Tau Tauri, Struve 598, Struve 623, Struve 645, Struve 670, Struve 674, Struve 680, 111 Tauri, 114 Tauri, 118 Tauri, Struve 730, Struve 742, 133 Tauri (Taurus)
Notable carbon star for January: R Leporis (Hind’s Crimson Star)
Seventy deep-sky objects for January: B26-28, B29, M36, M37, M38, NGC 1664, NGC 1778, NGC 1857, NGC 1893, NGC 1907, NGC 1931 (Auriga); IC 361, Kemble 1 (Kemble’s Cascade asterism), NGC 1501, NGC 1502, NGC 1530, NGC 1569 (Camelopardalis); NGC 1507, NGC 1518, NGC 1531, NGC 1532, NGC 1535, NGC 1537, NGC 1600, NGC 1637, NGC 1659, NGC 1700 (Eridanus); IC 418, M79, NGC 1832, NGC 1888, NGC 1964 (Lepus); B33, Cr65, Cr69, Cr70, IC 434, M42, M43, M78, NGC 1662, NGC 1973-75-77, NGC 1981, NGC 1999, NGC 2022, NGC 2023, NGC 2024, NGC 2112 (Orion); Be11, NGC 1491, NGC 1496, NGC 1499, NGC 1513, NGC 1528, NGC 1545, NGC 1548, NGC 1579, NGC 1582, NGC 1605, NGC 1624 (Perseus); DoDz3, DoDz4, M1, Mel 25, NGC 1514, NGC 1587, NGC 1647, NGC 1746, NGC 1807, NGC 1817 (Taurus)
Top ten binocular deep-sky objects for January: Cr65, Kemble 1, M36, M37, M38, M42, NGC 1528, NGC 1647, NGC 1746, NGC 1981
Top ten deep-sky objects for January: M1, M36, M37, M38, M42, M43, M78, M79, NGC 1501, NGC 2024
Challenge deep-sky object for January: IC 2118 (Eridanus)
The objects listed above are located between 4:00 and 6:00 hours of right ascension.