Your astronomy guide to celestial objects visible in January 2021. I hope you’ll enjoy my picks. Mostly relevant for northern hemisphere. Standard location is Bern, Switzerland (UCT+1/CET).
|Last Quarter||6 January|
|New Moon||13 January|
|First Quarter||20 January|
|Full Moon||28 January|
Moon conjunctions with bright
stars (<5 mag.) and planets
Starting 19 January till 21 January, the waxing Moon will be visible near Mars and Uranus. The Moon will also appear in the constellation of Taurus and its star cluster “The Hyades”. These so called conjunctions should be a lovely sight on:
- 23 January with ω Tau
- 24 January with ι Tau
- 25 January very early in the morning with n Tau
Mars is well visible until the end of January. Mars and Uranus will be at conduction on 21 January – already close on 20 January. The waxing Moon will be close as well. Other planets will be difficult or impossible to observe in January.
The Quadrantids start on 27 December 2020 and last until 10 January 2021. Peak will be on 2 and 3 January 2021. According to the American Meteor Society, the Quadrantids often produce bright fireballs.
Although a bit of a “neck breaker” for the moment, look for Andromeda Galaxy (M31) (mag. 3.57). Triangulum Galaxy (M33) (mag. 5.87) is also well visible. Both galaxies ideally at the very least with binoculars.
I love observing star clusters. The Pleiades are a “classic” among them and they can be observed with the naked eye. Fortunately, in January they will continue to be well visible.
The Hyades (Constellation of Taurus), the Orion Belt Cluster as well as the Alpha Persei Cluster (Constellation of Perseus) are all absolutely fascinating star clusters to observe.
For the “owls” among you: Coma Berenices will be visible after midnight (around 2 a.m. CET). Look for the beautiful “Coma Star Cluster” with around 40 brighter stars. You’ll find a picture of it below. The Coma Star Cluster is above the light polluted part in the picture (sorry about this). Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) is faintly visible as well. For a better resolution, check my Astrophoto Gallery.
There are a number of bright stars, including variable & double stars, that continue to be observable in January.
Watch out for the beautiful binary star Sirius (α CMa) in the Constellation of Canis Major. Other bright stars that are well visible throughout January:
|Aldebaran (α Tauri)||Taurus|
|Altair (α Aquilae)||Aquila|
|Bellatrix (γ Orionis)||Orion|
|Betelgeuse (α Orionis)||Orion|
|Capella (α Aurigae)||Auriga|
|Caph (β Cassiopeiae)||Cassiopeia|
|Daneb (α Cyg)||Cygnus|
|Fomalhaut (α Piscis Austrin)||Piscis Austrinus|
|Markab (α Pegasi)||Pegasus|
|Mirfak (α Persei)||Perseus|
|Pollux (β Geminorum)||Gemini|
|Rigel (β Orionis)||Orion|
|Vega (α Lyrae)||Lyra|
|Crab Nebula (M1)||Supernova remnant, pulsar wind nebula||Taurus||8.63|
|Great Orion Nebula (M42)||Diffuse nebula||Orion||4.56|
|Pleiades (M45)||Open star cluster with reflection nebulae||Taurus||1.36|
|Merope Nebula (NGC 1435)||Reflection nebula in Pleiades||Taurus||4.34|
|Elephant’s Trunk Nebula (IC 1396)||Emission nebula||Cepheus||3.66|
|Heart Nebula (IC 1805/Sh2-190)||Emission nebula||Cassiopeia||6.64|
|Rosette Nebula (NGC 2238/Caldwell 49)||Emission nebula||Monoceros||9.61|
|North America Nebula (NGC 7000)||Emission nebula||Cygnus||4.18|
Check out the open source Stellarium.org and create your own astronomical events agenda.
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