January 2022 – What’s Up!

Week of 24th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:40 UT at the start of the week and at 18:49 UT by the end of the week
  • With a waning Moon giving dark evening skies, this is a good week to explore the Deep Sky delights of Orion. From star birth in The Orion Nebula (M42), to the ageing red supergiant, Betelgeuse and the hot supergiant double star, Alnitak, in Orion’s Belt
  • The Moon is Last Quarter on Tuesday
  • The Sun currently has two active regions: AR 2933 & 2934. The sunspot number is 22
  • There are multiple evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Monday: 17:14, SW to E, max 35° and 18:50, W to SW, max 86°
    Tuesday: 18:02, WSW to E, max 76° and 19:39, W, max 23°
    Wednesday: 18:51, W to NNE, max 84°
    Thursday: 18:03, W to E, max 86° and 19:39, W, max 24°
    Friday: 18:51, W to SE, max 84°
    Saturday: 18:03, W to E, max 87° and 19:40, W, max 25°
    Sunday: 18:52, W to SSE, max 57°

Week of 17th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:30 UT at the start of the week and at 18:39 UT by the end of the week
  • Try to spot Comet 19P/Borrelly in our southwestern evening sky. The comet is approaching perihelion on 1st February and lies just 1.2 AU away from Earth now. It is about magnitude +8, so binoculars or a telescope will be required. Look at an altitude of around 28° in Cetus, on the border with Pisces. A planetarium app will be useful to help locate the comet
  • The Moon is Full on Monday – the Wolf Moon
  • The Sun currently has eight active regions: AR 2924, 2925, 2926, 2927, 2929, 2930, 2931 & 2932. The sunspot number is 120
  • There are multiple evening ISS passes this week as follows:
    Tuesday: 18:50, S, max 14°
    Wednesday: 18:03, SSE to SE, max 13° and 19:38, SW, max 13°
    Thursday: 18:51, SW to S, max 32°
    Friday: 18:04, SSW to ESE, max 27° and 19:40, WSW, max 18°
    Saturday: 17:18, S to E, max 19° and 18:53, WSW to SSW, max 58°
    Sunday: 18:07, SW to E, max 50° and 19:43, W, max 19°

Week of 10th January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:22 UT at the start of the week and at 18:29 UT by the end of the week
  • Mercury (mag +0.1) reaches its highest altitude in the evening sky on Wednesday. Look at about 12° above the southwestern horizon just after sunset (16:23 UT) to observe the innermost inferior planet. It sits just 3° away from Saturn (0.7)
  • The Moon is Waxing Gibbous all week
  • The Sun currently has two active regions: AR 2924 & 2925. The sunspot number is 31
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week

 

Week of 3rd January

  • Astronomical twilight ends at 18:14 UT at the start of the week and at 18:20 UT by the end of the week
  • The Quadrantid meteor shower peaks on Monday. This is one of the more spectacular annual showers, with a ZHR of around 120. The shower is active from 12 December to 12 January, as the Earth moves through debris deposited by asteroid 2003 EH1. The radiant of the shower is in the defunct constellation of Quadrans Muralis, an area of the sky now in the constellation of Bootes. The New Moon will make observing conditions ideal, if there is no cloud
  • The Earth reaches perihelion on Tuesday morning, the point in its orbit that is closest to the Sun, when it will be just 0.9833 AU away. This will make the Sun appear at its largest in the sky, but given that the annual variance is only about 3%, it will be unnoticeable
  • The Moon is First Quarter on Sunday
  • The Sun currently has four active regions: AR 2916, 2918, 2922 & 2923. The sunspot number is 52
  • There are no visible evening ISS passes this week