The astronomical events of the sky of January 2020, from Quadrantids to the eclipse…

The curtain opens on 2020. From the Quadrantids to the partial penumbral eclipse of the Moon, the main phenomena that will accompany us in the sky of January 2020.

constellation orion sky of january 2020
Orion constellation

The sky of January 2020: constellations

Observing the sky in this January 2020 means encountering the beauty of the winter constellations. First of all, the constellation of Orion which with its main stars Alnitak, Alnilam, Mintaka, and the more luminous Rigel, Betelgeuse and Bellatrix, remains a point of reference for finding your way among the other constellations. Among these, we find asterisms such as the Winter Triangle (which does not represent a constellation) consisting of the stars Sirius, Betelgeuse and Procione. South of asterism we come across the Canis Major, while in the north we find Gemini; to the northwest the Taurus and the Auriga. To the east, on the other hand, Aries, Perseus, Pisces, the Whale peep out.

Visible planets and conjunctions

Mercury

On January 10 the internal planet Mercury will be in conjunction with the Sun, therefore for the whole month, except for the last few days, when it will be visible low on the west horizon, it will be impossible to observe it.

Venus

The planet will shine all month until about three hours after sunset. Visible on the West horizon, it will be nice to watch it duet in conjunction with the Moon on the 28th of the month in the constellation of Aquarius.

Mars

It will be in conjunction with the red Antares on the 17th of the month and on January 20 it will be possible to witness the conjunction between the Moon and the red planet.

Jupiter

Impossible to observe Jupiter for the first period of the month. It will return visible, back from the conjunction with the Sun, towards the end of January towards the south-east horizon, low, just before the rising of our star.

January 23 will be in conjunction with a thin crescent moon between the first light of dawn.

Saturn

January 13 will be in conjunction with the Sun, therefore undetectable. It is located in the constellation of Sagittarius.

Neptune

Still with the help of a telescope, Neptune is low on the horizon and will be in conjunction with the bright Venus on January 27.

The meteor shower of the sky of January 2020: the Quadrantids.

Observing the night sky is even more beautiful and suggestive if there are shooting stars like the Quadrantids to shore it up. Their peak is scheduled for January 4th. Starting from the constellation of Boote (Bifolco) from which they seem to originate, these meteors have a very high ZHR. Therefore it will be possible that many

moon eclipse sky of january 2020
Credit: NASA

meteors will sail the sky on the nights between 1 and 5 January.

The partial penumbral eclipse of Moon

The Moon will be found on January 10 to cross the twilight of the Earth, which is the lightest area in the picture. This penumbral eclipse will be partial as the penumbra will cover our natural satellite for 92%. The event will not be particularly flashy, indeed it will be difficult to observe. Perhaps it will be possible to witness a darkening of the southern part of the full Moon, since it is the area most in contact with the penumbra. It will be visible in much of Europe (including Italy), Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean and Western Australia. The start is scheduled for 18.00 on 10 January, while it will end at 02.00.

We wish everyone clear skies and good observations, and a happy 2020! 

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