Remember—winter is the perfect time to observe! There are a lot of events going on this week, so pull out that observing chair. Here they are:
- The Garradd comet is still in the sky and is approaching its peak. Here's how to observe it!
- January 17: The moon is at its perigee of 369,882 kilometers (229,834 miles).
- January 19: The moon is at its most southern declination.
- January 20: Io transit
- January 21: Europa transit
- Ganymede occultation
- January 22: Io transit
- January 23: Europa occultation and eclipse
Below I have defined some of the events I will be notifying you about over the course of this repeating feature:
- Transit—When an astronomical object passes in front of another, like one of Jupiter's moons passing in front of Jupiter.
- Occultation—When one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer.
- Moon Phases—It can be fun observing different phases of the moon. These are what fraction of the moon is dark. It is also fun observing the dark side.
- Conjunctions—Two (or more) bright objects in one field of view! This is when two or more astronomical objects are relatively close. Sometimes it is cool to see planets or bright stars pass by or behind the moon.
- Apogee or Perigee—This is when the moon is closest or furthest away from Earth. Not really for observing, but it can be interesting to view the moon when it is large and small.
- Meteor Showers—Easily observed by the naked eye or by binoculars.
- Comets—Not very often do these come around, but are amazing to watch.
- Lunar and Solar Eclipses—Mainly these are lunar eclipses, but if you get to see a solar eclipse you are very lucky! This is when an astronomical object passes into a shadow of another. This could be Jupiter's moons passing into its shadow, or vice versa.
- Solstices—This is when the Earth wobbles, or from Earth this is how the northernmost or southernmost point the sun is at. There are two each year. This is mainly for information.
- Equinoxes—This is when the earth is in the middle of its southernmost and northernmost position and it is equal. Again, this is mainly for knowledge.
- Declination of Moon—This is when the moon's path around the Earth is slightly tilted up or down. The declination is the furthest up or down it will go.
There may be more to come. When these are included, I will explain what they are.