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Here is a quick look at what’s happening astronomically in January 2014

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January is named after the Roman god Janus or god of beginnings and transitions whose two faces appear on many gates and doorways in Rome.

Moon:

  • New Moon: January 1
  • Closest to Earth: January 1 (221,781 miles, super-size Moon)
  • First Quarter Moon: January 7
  • Full Moon: January 15 Mini Moon (16% smaller than a super moon)
  • Farthest from Earth: January 15 (252,607 miles)
  • Last Quarter Moon: January 24
  • Second New Moon: January 30 Black Moon (call this when there is a second new moon in a calendar month)

Planets Visible:

  • Early Evening: Jupiter look East, Venus, look southwest at sunset. Venus to close to the setting Sun after January 4. Look for Mercury shortly after sunset low in the south southwest after January 25.
  • Morning before sunrise: Saturn look southeast, Mars look south half way from horizon to overhead.
  • At sunrise: Venus will be visible low on the eastern horizon starting January 20.

Sun:

  • January 19: The Sun enters the astronomical constellation Capricornus
  • January 20: The Sun enters the astrological sign Aquarius

Earth:

  • January 4 latest sunrise (7:20am and some seconds)
  • January 4 Earth at perihelion 92,995,807 miles (closest to Sun)

Meteors:

  • January 2-4: The Quadranids peak on January 3 with rates between 60 and 200 meteors per hour. This will be the only shower this year where the Moon will not interfere.

Special Events:

  • January 15: The Moon passes by Jupiter, early evening
  • January 19: Chamberlin Observatory Open House weather permitting. The observatory’s 20” telescope and telescopes belonging to members of the Denver Astronomical Society will be available for viewing. Click here for more information.
  • January 23: The Moon will very close the star Spica with Mars close by, early morning
  • January 25: The Moon passes very close to Saturn, early morning
  • January 28-29 The Moon passes by Venus

Historical Trivia:

  • January 8, 1642 – Galileo Galilei dies four days after the birth of Isaac Newton.
  • January 19, 2006 – NASA launches the New Horizons craft, a mission to Jupiter and Pluto.

Wishing you clear skies

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