Sky Guide January 2016

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What to look out, and up, for in January.

For the beginners and young astronomers this month we take a look at the magnificent winter constellation of Orion with the belt and sword bordered by four magnificent stars. We take a look at a (cosmologically) near term supernova hopeful, a five star multiple star system, and the finest nebula of them all in small telescopes or binoculars.

Next we round up the planets that are visible in January: Jupiter rising early to show us some lovely transits of its moons, with Mars Saturn and Venus providing breathtaking views for the night owls. Saturn and Venus give us a rare close conjunction too in January.

Next we take a look at the phases of the moon this month and prepare for a conjunction with gas giant planet Jupiter and an occultation with bright star Aldebaran in Taurus.

The Quadrantids provide us with a nice meteor shower early in January which can often give us more meteors per hour than any other meteor shower.

Comet C2013 US10 Catalina continues to reveal itself to northern hemisphere observers and passes some deep sky objects to add to the excitement.

Finally, we end on our deep sky challenge in the constellation of Gemini with a planetary nebula and open clusters to tease out – including the topical Jedi Knight cluster.

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