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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 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.

January 29: Moon and Regulus

Look for the just-past-full Moon climbing into good view by about 7 p.m. A bright companion will stand close by: Regulus, the brightest star of the constellation Leo, the lion.

January 30: Moon and the Lion

The Moon passes about halfway between the brightest stars of Leo tonight. Regulus, the brightest, is to the upper right of the Moon, by about the width of your fist held at arm’s length. Denebola, the lion’s tail, is the same distance to the lower left of the Moon.

January 31: Celestial Clock

The Big Dipper wheels around the North Star like the hour-hand on a giant clock, ticking off the hours of the night. Winter is an especially good time to watch it because it’s in good view for most of the night.

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.