Extra sights worth viewing in our January skies
Jan 19, 2022, 2:00 PM
With January more than half over, we look to our Arizona skies for some additional objects to view in our binoculars and telescopes.
This week, the light of the first full moon of the new year, the full wolf moon on Monday washed out many of the faint objects that we look for in our great Arizona skies.
Don’t let the light of the moon block you from the best experiences possible.
As soon as Saturday, the light of the moon will not interfere with your search.
We will look at some of these objects later in this column.
Look low in the southwestern sky just after sunset for views of the giant planet Jupiter.
Jupiter is still bright enough to be seen with the naked eye and is presently some 535 million mils from Earth. You are looking at an object that is 47 minutes by travel at the speed of light! Even that may seem like a long time by that standard.
A last quarter moon will occur next Tuesday. This gives you plenty of time to view some of the objects that we will describe below.
My first suggestion is to look high and nearly overhead for the great Andromeda Galaxy.
This object is quite amazing at 2.4 million light years from your eye and a larger galaxy than our own Milky Way.
Here is a detailed map to help you find the galaxy.
In a dark sky, the next object you might be able to view in a dark sky is the elusive galaxy known as M33, the Triangulum Galaxy.
This fainter but amazing galaxy is some 2.73 million light years from Earth.
Here is a finder chart for M33.
Here is one object that is in the news and is out there in deep space.
The James Webb Telescope is slowly moving on to its near 1 million mile location from Earth, known as the L2 Lagrange point in space.
For those with very large telescope, you might be able to actually zoom into the region in space where the telescope is in our Arizona skies.
While the magnitude of the spacecraft is really faint, knowing that it lies out there in deep space, you can at least locate the position with a good degree of accuracy!
Here is additional information on where the James Webb Telescope is.
After your observation session, know that just before dawn the planet Venus slowly returns to the morning sky and should be easy to view in the southeast.
And for all of you who would like to experience a very special event, please join me for my monthly Dr. Sky Cruise To The Cosmos, on the Dolly Steamboat on Canyon Lake.
This special cruise will set sail on Jan. 29 at 5 p.m.
Experience the best in viewing the night sky along with a great dinner experience.
For reservations, call 480 827-9144 or book online at www.dollysteamboat.com.
To print your own monthly star chart, click here.
To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.
Listen to the Dr. Sky Show on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.
Podcasts are available here.