January brings some of the longest nights of the year, almost 15 hours of time without the Sun in the sky. With the nights so long, this month brings once a year observing opportunities in that it is possible to see the same star twice in one night.
While the calendar says January, a few stars of summer are still around, namely those in the Summer Triangle. while other summer stars are still here, too, the brightness of Vega and Deneb allow them to stand out well against twilight. As a result, horizon allowing, it’s still possible to see them just after sunset. Now, your evening sighting accomplished, feel free to observe other things or go to bed (the night is nearly 15 hours long!). In the morning, look in the Eastern sky to spot your star once again. Unlike at dusk, Vega is the easier star to spot on this end of the day.
So, while seeing stars is nothing in of itself most of the time, the ability to see them on both the rise and set over the course of a single night is something special, given our mid-Northern latitude (41 degrees North), so why not go out and give it a shot, after all, clear all-nighters are rare in the Cleveland area this time of year, so be sure to check the Cleveland Clear Sky Clock or, if you live somewhere else,a clock near you.
For even more fun, why not photographically document your achievement?
Since astronomy is a weather-allowing pursuit, be sure to keep an eye on the Cleveland weather forecast and, for hour-by-hour cloud predictions, the Cleveland Clear Sky Clock. Live somewhere else? Find a clock and see if it will be clear near you.
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Bodzash Photography & Astronomy