Podcaster: Rob Webb
Title: Observing With Webb in January 2020
Organization: Physics teacher at Pequea Valley High School
Description: January, though probably very cold, will bring us 2 close encounters, 1 meteor showers, and 4 naked-eye planets, along with some very long nights.
Bio: Rob Webb is a physics, astronomy, and sustainability teacher at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania. His passions include teaching, astronomy, astrophotography, planetariums, running, reading, and golf. A proud graduate of Dickinson College in 2005, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Science Education from Penn State University after conducting research in regards to the current state of planetariums in Pennsylvania. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com
Today’s sponsor: Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month: Dustin A Ruoff, Brett Duane, Kim Hay, Nik Whitehead, Timo Sievänen, Michael Freedman, Paul Fischer, Rani Bush, Karl Bewley, Joko Danar, Steven Emert, Frank Tippin, Steven Jansen, Barbara Geier, Don Swartwout, James K. Wood, Katrina Ince, Michael Lewinger, Phyllis Simon Foster, Nicolo DePierro.
Please consider sponsoring a day or two. Just click on the “Donate” button on the lower left side of this webpage, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or please visit our Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/365DaysOfAstronomy
Welcome to Observing With Webb, where a high school astronomy teacher tells you what you’re looking at, why it’s so cool, and what you should check out later this month…at night.
January, though probably very cold, will bring us 2 close encounters, 1 meteor showers, and 4 naked-eye planets, along with some very long nights.
First Quarter Moon – 2nd (Visible until midnight)
Full Moon – 10th (Visible all night)
Last Quarter Moon – 17th (Visible from midnight into the morning)
New Moon – 24th (darkest skies)
3rd, 4th – Quadrantids Meteor Shower – You might catch 15-25 meteors per hour, with a past first quarter Moon setting around midnight. Follow the same advice as the Geminids. Not a big meteor shower, and it’s cold, but could be worth it.
20th – 21st – Close Encounter – Moon, Mars – Get up and out after 4:30am, and look SE to find a nice crescent Moon. On the 20th, just 4˚ below and a little to the left of the Moon you’ll find the red disk of Mars. If you keep watching, you’ll also be able to spot the brightest star in Scorpio, red Antares, to the right a little down from Mars about the same distance. On the morning of the 21st, the Moon will now be about 8˚ down and to the left of Mars, and thinner.
27th – 28th – Close Encounter – Moon, Venus – Get out after sunset and watch the SW sky. Bright Venus will be about 7˚ above the Moon on the 27th. On the 28th, the Moon will move to be just 6˚ to the left of Venus, and still a wonderful crescent.
- Around Sunset – Venus (SW)
- Throughout the night – None
- Morning – Mars (SE), Jupiter (last 2wks)
- If you wait until the last 4 days of January, look WSW after sunset less than 10˚ above the horizon.
- Venus will rise from just about 20˚ above the SW horizon to about 30˚. Find a great view of the SW horizon with nothing in the way and watch the sunset. Venus will be the brightest light off in that direction.
- Get out after 5am, but before sunrise, and look SE to find the ruddy red point of light that is Mars. In January, it’ll move into Scorpio, near the red star Antares, whose name means simulating Mars.
- Lost in the Sun’s glare for over a month, and reappears in the morning twilight the last two weeks of January. Then, you’ll have to get out around 7am and look SE, low on the horizon. Jupiter will now be a morning planet for the next season or two.
- Lost in Sun’s glare
Use a sky map from www.skymaps.com to help you out.
Cassiopeia, Andromeda, & Perseus -Look pretty much straight up you’ll be able to see Andromeda curving off of one corner of Pegasus. If your skies are decently dark, you might catch the faint fuzz that is the Andromeda Galaxy. Cassiopeia will be relatively easy to find as the “W” in the sky, whose right angle points right to Andromeda and her galaxy. Perseus is the other cornucopia-shaped constellation, but opposite of Andromeda, with its curves emptying out toward the Pleiades
Taurus & the Pleiades – Look almost straight up, but down toward the South a little bit and you’ll find the lovely cluster of stars known as the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, Subaru, or the mini-mini-dipper. You can easily see 5 or 6 of them with the unaided eye, and perhaps a 7th, depending on light pollution and your eyes. To the left about 5˚ will be the V constellation of Taurus the bull, with bright red Aldebaran as its brightest, and one eye of the bull. Oh, and if you follow a line connecting these two to the left about 10˚, you’ll find Orion.
Leo – Look South, halfway up the sky, to find the backward question mark and right triangle that is Leo the Lion.
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Planetary Science Institute. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by libsyn.com and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at 365DaysOfAstronomy.org or email us at info@365DaysOfAstronomy.org. This year we will celebrates the Year of Everyday Astronomers as we embrace Amateur Astronomer contributions and the importance of citizen science. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!