Last Week's Stargazing Tips

January 25: Perseus

As befits his status as a hero, Perseus strides boldly across the sky this evening. He is high overhead at nightfall, crowning the sky with a couple of streamers of moderately bright stars.

January 24: Procyon

One dog star leads another across the sky on winter nights. Procyon, the little dog, precedes the Dog Star, Sirius. They are in good view in the eastern sky by a couple of hours after sunset.

January 23: Eridanus

A faint river of stars meanders through the evening sky this month. Eridanus winds its way across a large section of the southern sky. It begins near Rigel, the brightest star in the adjoining constellation Orion.

January 22: Moon and Mars

The planet Mars is easy to pick out this evening because it stands close to the crescent Moon. It looks like a moderately bright yellow-orange star to the left of the Moon. The much brighter planet Venus, the “evening star,” stands below them.

January 21: Moon and Venus

The planet Venus shines brightly as the “evening star” right now. Tonight, it stands just to the left of the crescent Moon. Venus far outshines everything else in the night sky other than the Moon, so you can’t miss it.

January 20: Binary Planets

Earth and the Moon are sometimes called a binary planet, because they are the most evenly matched pairing of a major planet and a moon in the solar system: the Moon is more than a quarter of Earth’s diameter.

January 19: Lacaille’s Constellations

Several constellations created 250 years ago by French astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille are on display in the south on winter evenings. The list, which honors the technology of the day, includes the pendulum clock, compass, and furnace.

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