Southern Colorado Skies / January 8 – 14, 2017

Consider a planetarium program to help you plan your observations. There are many commercial products available, and an excellent program (STELLARIUM) is available free at http://www.stellarium.org/.

THE ORION ‘S’

Have you ever noticed the asterism of an ‘S” formed by stars in Orion’s belt? It was not very obvious to me until I recently read about it and then looked for myself – now I don’t know how I missed it!

Orion is now above the eastern horizon just after dark – have a look for yourself! (Click on the images below to enlarge them.)

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THIS WEEK

Sunday (January 8)

Look for the gibbous Moon below the Pleiades and left (west) of Aldebaran.

Tuesday (January 10)

Now the Moon is in the “club” of Orion, with Betelgeuse to its lower right (west).

Thursday (January 12)

Full Moon at 4:34 a.m. MST).

Neptune and Venus are about 0.4 degrees apart, with Neptune to Venus’s lower left (east). Neptune is about 100,000 times fainter than Venus!

Jupiter is at western quadrature (90 degrees west of the Sun). Can you detect through your telescope that Jupiter’s western limb is more shadowed than its eastern limb?

Saturday (January 14)

The Moon shines near Regulus after they both rise about 8 p.m.

PLANETS

Mercury (in Sagittarius) and Saturn (in Ophiuchus):

Look low in the southeast at dawn. Mercury is about 7 degrees (a little more than three fingers width, held at arm’s length) to Saturn’s lower left (east).

Venus (in Aquarius)

Shining brightly n the southwest in the early evening.

Mars (in Aquarius):

Look for a faint orange “star” to the upper left (east) of Venus.

Jupiter (in Virgo):

Jupiter rises a little after midnight and dominates the sky due south just before dawn. The bright star a few degrees below it is Spica (in Virgo). Jupiter reaches opposition on April 7th, which is its closest approach during this apparition.

Uranus (in Pisces):

High in the south after nightfall.

Neptune (in Aquarius):

Neptune passes close to Venus this week (see above).

BRIGHT IRIDIUM FLARES

The following data are based on my location in Pueblo West, Colorado. If you live well outside this area, you should consider checking this information for your site in order to be assured of accurate times, elevations, etc.

Monday (January 9): 5:52 a.m. / Magnitude -2.9 / SSE / Elevation 18 degrees

Monday (January 9): 6:17 p.m. / Magnitude -8.3 / NE / Elevation 54 degrees

Thursday (January 12): 5:43 a.m. / Magnitude -6.5 / SSE / Elevation 20 degrees

Friday (January 13): 7:00 a.m. / Magnitude -6.5 / ENE / Elevation 28 degrees

INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION (ISS)

These are too numerous to list here! If you’re serious, load the ISS DETECTOR app on your smart phone or tablet.

Carpe noctem

Dave Furry

Pueblo West, Colorado

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