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    Articles > January 2005
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The Night Sky Planisphere

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  Sky Calendar -- January 2005
Comet Machholz (C/2004 Q2) will be visible in the evening sky all month (sky map shows its path), however it will be at its best in the first half of the month (mag. 3.5 to 4.0). A fine binocular object!
2 Earth at Perihelion (closest to Sun) at 23h UT. The Sun-Earth distance is 0.983297 a.u. or about 147.1 million kilometers.
3 Quadrantid Meteor Shower peaks at 12h UT. Produces faint medium-speed meteors between late December and early January. Most activity occurs during a sharp peak on the night of January 3-4 (40 to 100 meteors/hour). The only major shower whose parent comet remains unknown. Radiant is in northern Boötes. Moonlight interferes this year.
3 Last Quarter Moon at 17:46 UT.
4 Moon very near Jupiter at 1h UT (morning sky). Occultation visible from central Africa and south-western Australia (daylight).
7 Moon near Mars at 18h UT (morning sky).
7 Moon near Antares at 20h UT (morning sky).
9 Mars 4.6° from Antares at 1h UT (morning sky). Magnitudes +1.5 and +1.0.
9 Moon, Mercury, and Venus within circle 4.8° diameter at 2h UT (20° from Sun, morning sky).
10 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 10h UT (distance 356,570 km; angular size 33.5').
10 New Moon at 12:03 UT. Beginning of lunation 1015.
13 Mercury 0.32° from Venus at 6h UT (19° from Sun, morning sky). Magnitudes -0.3 and -3.9.
13 Saturn at opposition (opposite from the Sun) at 23h UT. Visible all night long, the ringed planet is at its brightest (mag. -0.2) and closest (disk diameter 20.6") all year. Saturn's rings are a magnificent sight even in a small telescope. Contact your local Astronomy club for their next viewing night.
17 First Quarter Moon at 6:58 UT.
19 Moon near the Pleiades at 23h UT (evening sky).
23 Moon at apogee (furthest from Earth) at 19h UT (distance 406,445 km; angular size 29.4').
24 Moon near Pollux at 10h UT (evening sky).
24 Comet Machholz at perihelion at 22h UT. Mag. ~4.
25 Full Moon at 10:32 UT. The full Moon of January is called the "Old Moon" or the "Moon After Yule" in old almanacs.
31 Moon very near Jupiter at 10h UT (morning sky). Spectacular moonrise!
All times Universal Time (UT). (USA Eastern Standard Time = UT ­ 5 hours)

Clear skies till next month!

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