Today’s Astronomical Events – January 21st, 2015

Observers looking for a challenge might want to try their hand at spotting the just-past new Moon. It’s unlikely to be seen from the southern hemisphere, where it will be directly below Venus but too close to the horizon. Observers in the United Kingdom and North America stand the best chance as it forms a triangle with both Mercury and Venus and may be spotted with binoculars. Look to the south-west shortly after sunset; if Venus is visible, try looking for the Moon.

(Click on an image to enlarge.)

Images Courtesy of Mobile Observatory.

 

 

03:48 UT – Mercury is stationary prior to beginning retrograde motion. (28% illuminated, magnitude 0.4, diameter 8.3”. Capricornus, evening sky.)

09:42 UT – Asteroid 3 Juno is at perigee. Distance to Earth: 1.324 AU (Magnitude 7.9. Hydra, all night.)

17:06 UT – The just-past new Moon passes Mercury. (Mercury: 26% illuminated, magnitude 0.6, diameter 8.4”. Capricornus, evening sky. See image below.)

20:30 UT – Mercury is at perihelion. Distance to Sun: 0.308 AU. (25% illuminated, magnitude 0.6, diameter 8.4”. Capricornus, evening sky.)

The open star cluster M48 culminates at midnight tonight. (Magnitude 5.5. Hydra, all night.)

 

 

Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are easily visible with the naked eye.

All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here.

 

Learn more about every upcoming astronomical event in 2015 An Astronomical Year (Kindle eBook) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Kindle eBook) and The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) (Paperback Edition).

The Amateur Astronomer’s Notebook allows astronomers to log 150 observing sessions and includes an appendix of hundreds of suggested deep sky objects.

Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon.

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