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Several planets visible from Earth throughout January

Several planets visible from Earth throughout January
MGN Online
Weather Talk

POSTED: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 3:56pm

UPDATED: Sunday, January 19, 2014 - 4:53pm

Shine bright like a dimond!

We have been seeing those beautiful, clear skies lately, and if you just take a minute to look up you will see all sorts of beautiful and glittery objects twinkling up in the sky.

Although we are starting to see more clouds covering our skies tonight, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a few planets with the naked eye.  

Several planets will be easily visible in the evening throughout January 2014!

Earth flies between the sun and Jupiter early this month, and so Jupiter, the biggest planet in our our solar system, shines bright like a diamond, from dusk until dawn and is at its closest and brightest for the year.

If we’re lucky and have a partially clear skies this week to the west after sunset, you might also catch a glimpse of Venus before the sky’s brightest planet disappears in the glare of sunset.

Starting this week, Venus and Jupiter, the sky’s two brightest planets, are like bright bookends in the morning sky, with Venus rising as Jupiter sets!

If you happen to be a night owl or an early morning body, you could catch Mars and Saturn in the morning sky this week.

Don't think I forgot Saturn. The incredible orange and red planet is found in front of the constellation Libra the Scales, for those who love star gazing, and rises in the east-southeast at  around 1 to 2 a.m. local time by late January.

So get ready!

Tonight Mercury will be visible in the west at dusk, starting January 19.

January 19 marks the beginning of a time when you might see Mercury in the evening. You might be able to catch Mercury in the sunset direction around 45 to 60 minutes after sunset. This tiny world is almost as brilliant as the star Sirius, the brightest star of the nighttime sky. The evening twilight will obscure the planet’s luster, but you’ll be surprised at how bright Mercury can appear. If you can’t see Mercury with the eye alone, you might be looking too soon after sunset. Or there might be thin clouds in the direction to your horizon. But if you don’t see it tonight, keep watching the skies after sunset for the rest of this month.  Mercury sets a bit more than one hour after the sun!

The Moon and Mars will shine in Virgo from midnight till dawn January 23

For this one you will definitely need to be awake for almost all of the night. The moon and Mars will climb over the eastern horizon late in the evening on January 22 or after midnight on January 23. If you’re not one for staying up late, simply wake up early to see the moon and Mars before sunrise on Thursday, January 23. This pair of worlds will be highest up in the sky just before dawn, or roughly 5 a.m. local time.

The Moon and Saturn will light up Libra before dawn January 25

You will definitely need to be awake before the sun comes up to see Saturn. On this date you will be able to not only see Saturn but Mars as well! If you get up before dawn, you will be able to see the grand vista as the moon, Saturn, and Mars, adorn the predawn hours. Then as darkness begins to give way to the sun, or about 75 to 60 minutes before sunrise, watch for the dazzling planet Venus to enter into the southeast sky.

Waning Moon and Venus couple up before sunrise January 28

This is the one I am going to wake up to see! It'll be the brightest and second-brightest lights to twinkle in the nighttime! The moon and Venus, respectively will  put on quite a show in the early morning hours on January 28 and 29. Set your alarms to about  90 to 60 minutes before sunrise, and then look in the direction of the sunrise to observe the attractive morning couple!

Moon, Mercury low in the southwest after sunset January 31

This one will only be visible in North America! For those of us who have an unobstructed horizon in the direction of sunset, we may be able to catch the young moon with Mercury on Friday, January 31! Look for this pair of worlds to pop out low in the west-southwest an hour or so after sunset!

Don't forget to mark your calendars and get your front row seats ready to gaze upon some of nature's grand spectacles!

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