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The January Night Sky

The sky is not a painting, it's a movie. Stars pulse, flare, some explode as supernova, asteroids whiz by the earth, new comets appear in the sky, Aurora sets the northern skies ablaze and meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere.

 Astronomy Picture of the Day

See below Hubble site Tonight's Sky, highlights of this months night sky movie with narration below. Click on photo below.

Total Lunar Eclipse for some

The full Moon on the 31st for the York, Pa. area enters penumbra at 5:49 am and begins to darken the Moons eastern limb, the Moon then enters the umbra at 06:48 just before the Moon sets at 7:17 as viewed from a flat clear horizon as it is very low on the western horizon. The farther west you are the more of the eclipse you will see, residents along the Pacific coast will see all of the total phase.

February will not have a full Moon.

This Full Moon of January 31st at 8:27 am Eastern Standard Time. This will be the second Full Moon for the month of January, which sets up an interesting scenario for the next two months. Since February only has 28 days in 2018, there will be no Full Moon during that month. Instead, March will also have two Full Moons. This last occurred in 1999, and will next happen in 2037.

The Full Moon for January

Full Wolf Moon-The January Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.. Courtesy Farmers Almanac.

Lunar Phase

Full Moon January 1 9:24 pm EST
Last Quarter Moon January 8 5:25 pm EST
New Moon January 16 9:17 pm EST
First Quarter Moon January 24 5:20 pm EST
Full Moon January 31 8:27 am EST


The Planets Visibility for January


Morning Sky ESE

Lost in the glare of the Sun


Morning Sky ESE

Lost in the glare of the Sun


Morning Sky ESE

Mars on January 28th rises at 2:41 am in the constellation Libra at +1.1 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'05". Look ESE . The best time to observe Mars will be a couple of hours before dawn in the SSE. Above and to  the right of Mars ( about 10 degrees) the bright planet Jupiter is easily visible. See below for location of Mars and Jupiter on January 27 at 6:00 am.

To see which part of Mars surface is visible at any time, check out the Mars Profiler at Sky & Telescope Magazine's web page. 



Morning Sky ESE

Jupiter January 28th is at -2.0 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'35" located in the constellation Libra rising at 1:48 am. Below image shows Jupiter's moons Callisto, Io Europa and Ganymede for 6 am on January 28th.

A small telescope will easily reveal four of Jupiter's largest and brightest moons. Check out Sky & Telescope's Jupiter Moons Utility for other configurations. Sky and Telescope Red Spot Calculator 


 Morning Sky ESE

Saturn January 28th is at +0.6 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'15" rises at 5:15 am in the constellation Sagittarius. Look to the SE. See image below for location at 6:30 am. on 28th.

See: Saturn's moons locations 


Evening - Morning Sky S-SW

 Uranus January 28th is at 5.8 magnitude with a diameter 00°00'03" visible after sunset in the constellation Pisces in the southwestern evening sky. Uranus sets at 12:40 am .. A moderate-sized telescope will show it as a faint green-gray disk.

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope


Evening Sky SW

Neptune January 28th is at magnitude 8.0 with a diameter 00°00'.2" located in Aquarius. Neptune sets at 10:09 pm. Neptune is best observed just after  sunset when highest in the sky.

See: Sky and Telescope location PDF. Courtesy: Sky and Telescope

Dwarf Planets


Evening - SW Sky

Pluto midmonth is at magnitude +14.3 and diameter 00°00'.00" setting at 6:30 pm located in the constellation Sagittarius. 


No Comets Brighter than 8 magnitude.

  For more on current Comets and locations see: Sky & Telescope also Seiichi Yoshida web site here.


No current major rmeteor showers.

See: Listen to Meteors , American Meteor Society, Meteors Online also NASA All Sky Network

Some local links below to Heavens Above satellite information website.

Satellites Visible from York

Satellites visible from Hanover

Satellites visible from Gettysburg

Satellites visible from Lancaster

Satellites visible from Baltimore

Satellites visible from Harrisburg

Also see: Spaceflight NASA

The Sun

Real time solar wind dials are linked live to the ACE Spacecraft.

 If the dial on the left (Magnetic Field) has dipped below zero, the speed is high and the dial dynamic pressure is in the yellow/red, be alert for Aurora. Anytime the gauges are in the Red and the dial on the left, the Magnetic Field BZ has dipped to the yellow-red... Aurora will be occurring in our area. See link to solar wind gauge here: REAL TIME SOLAR WIND

See explanation of  solar wind dials below by clicking on photo of dials


Use your hand to find degrees

NASA Night Sky Network Planner

Free download. AstroPlanner  

Download a free starmap at: Skymaps

Make your own starmap at: Star Finder

Download a free Planetarium for your computer at: Stellarium or Hallo Northern Sky Stellarium has many extra features.

Your Sky - Fourmilab

Your night sky map on the internet

Sky & Telescope Interactive Sky Chart Register to use.

Sky Map