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What’s Up – January 2018

What’s Up For January? 

Quadrantid meteors, a West Coast-favoring total lunar eclipse and time to start watching Mars!

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This month the new year’s first meteor shower fizzles, Mars meets Jupiter in the morning sky and the U.S. will enjoy a total lunar eclipse!

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Most meteor showers radiate from recognizable constellations. Like the Leonids, Geminids and Orionids.

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But the Quadrantids are meteors that appear to radiate from the location of the former Quadrans Muralis constellation, an area that’s now part of the constellation Bootes.

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The Quadrantids’ peak lasts for just a few hours, and sadly, this year their timing coincides with a very bright, nearly full moon that will wash out most of the meteors.

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You can look in any direction to see all the meteor showers. When you see one of these meteors, hold a shoestring along the path it followed. The shoestring will lead you back to the constellation containing the meteor’s origin.

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On the morning of January 6th, look in the south-southeast sky 45 minutes before sunrise to see Jupiter and fainter Mars almost as close as last month’s Jupiter and Venus close pairing.

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Mars is only one-sixth the apparent diameter of Jupiter, but the two offer a great binocular and telescopic view with a pretty color contrast. They remain in each other’s neighborhood from January 5th through the 8th.

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Finally, to end the month, a great total lunar eclipse favors the western U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii and British Columbia on January 31st. Australia and the Pacific Ocean are well placed to see a major portion of the eclipse–if not all of it.

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Watch the full What’s Up for January Video: 

There are so many sights to see in the sky. To stay informed, subscribe to our What’s Up video series on Facebook.

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Source: NASA

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What’s Up – January 2018

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