January 3, 2011 – Night sky events for the week of January 3 –
Hello Sky Watchers!
The Moon this week
There is a New Moon on Tuesday, January 4, which will result in a partial solar eclipse for parts of Africa, Eastern Europe and Southwest Asia.
NASA announcement: Newly discovered microbe that uses arsenic to reproduce
The rest of the week will be relatively dark as the Moon gradually waxes back to First Quarter next week.
Planet lineup for the week
To start the day off we have Mercury shining brightly in the east-southeastern sky about an hour before the sun comes up. Then, you can find Venus, also shining bright, far to the upper right of Mercury.
Saturn rises at about 1:00 am ET, but it becomes best to view during dawn as well. Find it to the far upper right of Venus in the south-southeast.
First potentially habitable Earth-like exoplanet discovered
Jupiter remains quite visible in the early evening and into the night. Find it in the south at twilight and follow it to the south-southwest later on. It now sets at around 11:00 pm.
Mars remains hidden in the glow of the sunset for now.
Stars and constellations to see this week
The Winter Triangle is now seen up in the east-southeast at around 8:00 pm ET. It is made up of Orion‘s star Betelgeuse, the star Procyon to the left and brilliant Sirius on the bottom. It is actually nicer and brighter than its counterpart, The Summer Triangle, appearing more colorful and even more equilateral.
Vega can be spotted low in the northwestern sky after it gets dark and Deneb, which is the head of the Northern Cross, is seen right above it.
Number of stars in universe is tripled by astronomer’s discovery
The constellation Lepus lies to the south of Orion‘s feet and it actually resembles a Hare (the name it is known for). In relatively dark skies, you can make out the long ears, bunched up body and pointy nose that aims west. Under more light polluted areas, the only two stars visible are the ones that represent the neck, but the rest are easy to find with a pair of binoculars.
Look up and smile!
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