January 2018 – Where to look for the planets

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Use the finder charts on this page to guide you to where to look for the planets in January 2018.

A few pointers:

  • All planets visible to the unaided eye look like stars. Planets visible to the unaided eye include Mercury, Venus, Earth (look down!), Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
  • In a telescope, Uranus and Neptune are visible as tiny discs. The dwarf planet Pluto remains looking like a star in even the largest amateur telescope.
  • Stars are shown to magnitude 5 on the charts unless otherwise noted. This is a compromise between what you would see from the light polluted skies of a city (where you will see significantly less stars) and dark country skies (where you will see significantly more stars).
  • Unless otherwise noted, the finder charts are prepared for the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The charts will be useful for elsewhere in Eastern Australia (including Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane).
  • Chart times are given in AEST or Australian Eastern Standard Time. Remember to change for ‘Summer Time’ if this is in force in your location.

7 January 2018 – Mars and Jupiter very close in the early morning sky

Mars, Jupiter and Antares (brightest star in ancient Greek constellation Scorpius ‘The Scorpion’) finder chart. Chart prepared for 3 am AEST / 4 am AEDT on Sunday 7 January 2018 for the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (but will be also useful for elsewhere in Eastern Australia). Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

Detailed Mars and Jupiter finder chart. Chart prepared for 3 am AEST / 4 am AEDT on Sunday 7 January 2018. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

 

14 January 2018 – Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn finder chart – Early dawn sky

Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Antares (brightest star in ancient Greek constellation Scorpius ‘The Scorpion’) finder chart. Chart prepared for 4 am AEST / 5 am AEDT on Sunday 14 January 2018 for the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (but will be also useful for elsewhere in Eastern Australia). Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

31 January – Use binoculars to observe dwarf planet Ceres at opposition during total lunar eclipse – Late evening sky

Asteroid (Minor planet) Ceres and eclipsed Moon finder chart. By coincidence, Ceres will be at opposition on this day and at peak brightness for the year. It will be at magnitude 6.9 – placing it easily in reach of 10 by 50 binoculars from moderately dark locations. Chart prepared for 11.31 pm AEST 31 January 2018 / 12.31 am AEDT 1 February 2018 for the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia (but will be also useful for elsewhere in Eastern Australia). The chart shows stars to magnitude 8 to aid with star hopping to Ceres. Chart prepared using the highly recommended Sky Safari Pro tablet app. Used with permission.

31 January / 1 February 2018 – Total Lunar Eclipse finder chart – Late evening sky/ Early Morning Sky

This years only total lunar eclipse visible in the evening sky.

(c) 2017 Paula Floyd www.nightskyonline.info

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