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Evening Planets:

Venus will be visible very low in the SW in the bright Dusk twilight. The planet will soon become difficult to see. Venus will only be visible for the first few days of January, 2022. By 5 January, Venus sinks into the bright afterglow of Sunset and will become lost from view. Later Venus will then move into the morning sky.

Mercury puts on a fair short evening appearance in the WSW sky. Each evening, Mercury is gaining a bit of altitude. On 9 January, Mercury reaches its mediocre highest position for this evening showing. The planet will set about 75 minutes after Sunset on that date. After that date, Mercury loses altitude fast as well as brightness and sets earlier each evening. By 15 January, Mercury has moved into the glare of Sunset and is lost from view. Mercury will be near Saturn on 12 -13 January. This conjunction is very low in the WSW sky and is not favorable for our viewing area.

Saturn shares the same fate as Venus and Mercury. Each evening, Saturn sinks lower in to the WSW Dusk twilight sky. By the 21 January, Saturn has moved into the glare of Sunset and is lost from view. Saturn will be next to Mercury’s upper left on 12 -13 January but this conjunction is not favorable.

Jupiter is the only evening planet that will be around for the whole month. Jupiter is in the SW as evening darkness sets in. Each evening Jupiter is slowly losing altitude. Also, as the month progresses, Jupiter will lose some brightness and will start to be harder to see. By the end of the month Jupiter  will be mostly in the Dusk twilight and be low on the horizon.

Morning Planets:

Mars is low in the SE and rises about 1.5 hours before Sunrise. The planet low altitude means that the planet spends its time in the Dawn twilight making it a bit difficult to see. The dim planet will hold its current altitude position for the month of January.

Venus appears low in the SE sky and rises after Mars. The planet should be visible very low in the SE around 18th of January. Despite her relative low altitude, Venus is starting to gain a bit of brightness. This is the start of Venus rather mediocre morning showing which will last until autumn.

3-4 Jan Quadrantids Meteor Shower

4 Jan Thin Crescent Moon left of Saturn, Dusk

5 Jan Crescent Moon lower left of Jupiter, Dusk

12 -13 Jan Mercury, Saturn conjunction, Dusk (not favorable)

20 Jan Waning Gibbous Moon near bright star Regulus, Dawn

24 Jan Waning Gibbous Moon upper right bright star Spica, Dawn

29 Jan Crescent Moon, Mars, and Venus form a roughly slightly curved line, Dawn

The Quadrantids Meteor Shower:

The year’s first major meteor shower, the Quadrantids Meteor Shower will happen on the night of 3-4 January 2022. The Moon is just 1 day past New Moon and will offer no interference. This meteor shower is very short lived and is best seen from about  1 am to 5 am. About 10 meteors per hour are predicted to be seen in the evening. About 30 meteors per hour are predicted  to be seen in the short pre-dawn observing window. The “problem” with the “Quads” meteor shower is  that it often produces faint bluish color meteors which are often hard to see. To observe the “Quads”, an observer needs to find a dark sky location, away from any outdoor lights which has a clear view of the North Eastern Sky. This meteor shower is not favorable for our viewing area.

Gary T. Nowak

Vermont Astronomical Society