Weekly Stargazing Tips

Provided by StarDate.org. Unless otherwise specified, viewing times are local time regardless of time zone, and are good for the entire Lower 48 states (and, generally, for Alaska and Hawaii).

January 21: Moon and Jupiter

The giant planet Jupiter is just moving into view in the morning sky now. Tomorrow, look for it to the lower left of the crescent Moon in early twilight. It will climb higher over the coming weeks, making it easier to see.

January 22: Sky Cats

Three cats pad across the sky tonight. One is bright and fairly easy to find, but the others are faint. The brightest is Leo, the lion. Just to Leo’s north is Leo Minor, the little lion. The third cat, the lynx, stretches overhead from the lions.

January 23: Familiar Sights

The eastern sky offers some well-known sights on winter evenings. By around 9 o’clock tonight, for example, Leo is springing skyward in the east, with the Big Dipper standing on its handle in the northeast.

January 24: Fornax

Fornax, the furnace, is named for a piece of lab equipment used by chemists of the 18th century. From the U.S. it’s best seen from the southern states. It stands low above the southern horizon as night falls.

January 25: Monoceros

With a name that means “the unicorn,” you might expect the constellation Monoceros to have an interesting story. Instead, it was created mainly to fill in a dark region near bright Orion the hunter, which is in the southeast in early evening.

January 26: Unicorn Clouds

The Rosette Nebula, named for its resemblance to a red rose, is a stellar nursery more than 100 light-years across. It’s visible through telescopes in Monoceros, the unicorn, which is below bright Orion this evening.

January 27: Moon and Venus

The crescent Moon is in the southwest early this evening. It pairs up with Venus, the brilliant “evening star,” creating a beautiful scene for a winter’s night.