Astronomy Info & Events - January

Moon Phases

January 1: Full Moon (Full Wolf Moon and largest Full Moon of 2018!)
January 8: Last Quarter Moon
January 16: New Moon
January 24: First Quarter Moon
January 31: Full Moon (Blue Moon and Total Lunar Eclipse!)

Special Events

January 2: Earth at perihelion (closest to the Sun) at a distance of 1
47,097,233 km 

January 3/4: Quadrantid meteor shower peaks (up to 100 meteors seen per hour!)

January 8: Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Edmonton Centre) meeting 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in the IMAX Theatre at TELUS World of Science. Free for anyone to attend.

January 31: Total Lunar Eclipse (only one visible this year from Alberta)

Events of the Total Lunar Eclipse are as follows:

  • Partial umbral eclipse begins at:  4:48 a.m. MST
  • Total lunar eclipse begins at:  5:51 a.m. MST
  • Mid-eclipse at: 6:29 a.m. MST
  • Total lunar eclipse ends at:  7:07 a.m. MST
  • Partial umbral eclipse ends at:  8:11 a.m. MST
  • Moonset from Edmonton at:  8:26 a.m. MST (along the west-northwest horizon)

The next total lunar eclipse visible in the late evening from Alberta will be on January 20, 2019!

Visible Planets

Mercury is visible very low along the southeastern horizon before sunrise in early the part of January 2018.  It then disappears into the glare of the rising Sun by January 19.  Look for Mercury near the really slim waning crescent Moon on the mornings of January 14 and 15.  From January 9 to January 16 look for the faint planet Saturn joining Mercury low in the southeastern sky before sunrise.  Mercury and Saturn will be at their closest conjunction before sunrise on January 12 and 13.

Venus is at superior conjunction (a point on the other side of the Sun as seen from Earth) on January 9 and hence will not be visible this month.

Mars rises along the east-southeastern horizon during predawn early morning hours and then is found low in the southern sky by sunrise.  Mars is located in the constellation of Libra, the scales, for almost all of the month.  Look for Mars and the brighter planet Jupiter just below the slim waning crescent Moon during the dawn hours of January 11.

Jupiter is found rising in the early morning hours along the east-southeast horizon.  By sunrise Jupiter is found low in the southern sky.  Jupiter is currently located within the constellation of Libra, the scales, and appears near Mars for most of the month.  Jupiter can be seen very near Mars in the morning hours from January 4 to 9, with a close conjunction of the two planets occurring on January 6.  On the morning of January 11 you can find Jupiter and Mars just below the waning crescent Moon making for a nice conjunction.  

Saturn becomes visible early in the month, very low in the southeastern sky before sunrise.  Look for a nice conjunction of Saturn with Mercury before sunrise on January 12 and 13.  Saturn and Mercury will be below the waning crescent Moon on the morning of January 14.