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In the Sky This Month

The new year begins as the old one ended, with the magnificent stars of winter striding boldly across the sky. Beautiful Orion wheels across the south, with the hunter’s three-star belt pointing toward Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky. Taurus, the bull, is above Orion during the early evening and leads it across the sky. And the twins of Gemini, to the left of Orion at nightfall, arc high above it later on.

January 22: Beehive Cluster

Cancer, the crab, is in the east this evening. It rises as darkness falls and is well up in the east by mid-evening. Its most interesting object is a cluster of stars known as the Beehive. To the unaided eye, it looks like a tiny smudge of light.

January 23: Moon and Aldebaran

Aldebaran, the star that marks the eye of Taurus, the bull, will be quite close to the Moon throughout the night. They will be high in the sky at nightfall and set in the wee hours of the morning.

January 24: Butting Up Against the Moon

El Nath, a star that represents the tip of one of the horns of Taurus, the bull, stands to the left or upper left of the Moon as night falls and directly above it a few hours later. The star also forms part of the outline of Auriga the charioteer.

January 25: Great Square of Pegasus

The Great Square of Pegasus stands high in the west at nightfall. Its brightest star, Alpheratz, is at the highest point of the square.

January 26: Canopus

Canopus, the second-brightest star in the night sky, peeks into view on winter evenings for skywatchers in the southern latitudes of the United States. It’s due south at about 10 or 11 p.m., almost directly below Sirius, the night sky’s brightest star.

January 27: Moon and Gemini

Pollux and Castor, the “twin” stars of Gemini, align above the full Moon tonight. Pollux is the brighter of the two and stands closer to the Moon. The bright stars will look a bit washed out in the glare of the Moon.

January 28: Full Moon

The Moon is full today at 1:16 p.m. CST as it lines up opposite the Sun. January’s full Moon is known as the Old Moon or Wolf Moon. It is farther from Earth than average, so discerning skywatchers may notice that it appears a little smaller and fainter than average.

Last quarterLast Jan. 6, 3:37 am

New MoonNew Jan. 12, 11:00 pm

First QuarterFirst Jan. 20, 3:02 pm

Full MoonFull Jan. 28, 1:16 pm

Times are U.S. Central Time.

Perigee January 9

Apogee January 21

The full Moon of January is known as the Old Moon, Moon After Yule, or Wolf Moon.