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  • January 14, 2019

Planets visible to the naked eye - January 14, 2019

  • Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan
Photo: Sophie Desrosiers

From January 14 to 28, 2019

Mercury is too close to the sun and is not visible presently. The tiny planet passes behind the sun (superior conjunction) on January 30, and will reappear in the evening sky during the second week of February.

Venus is the dazzling Morning Star that dominates the southeastern sky at the end of the night and at dawn. It emerges above the east-southeast horizon 3 hours before sunrise; at dawn, it stands about 20 degrees high in the south-southeast. Not quite as brilliant, Jupiter also shines in the same area of the sky: in fact, the two brightest planets lie within 3 degrees of each other from January 21 to 24, and they’re separated by less than 2 ½ degrees on the morning of January 22. On the morning of January 31, the thin lunar crescent lies between Jupiter and Venus, just 2 ½ degrees to the right of the Morning Star. The next morning, February 1, the thin lunar crescent hangs between Venus and Saturn.

Mars is still receding from Earth and slowly fading. But the Red Planet remains an easily identifiable object: it appears at dusk about 50 degrees high in the south-southwest, and sets in the west after 11:00 p.m. On the evening of February 10, the waxing crescent moon lays degrees to the left of the Red Planet.

Jupiter is now easy to see in the southeast at the end of the night and at dawn, near dazzling Venus. In fact, the two brightest planets lie within 3 degrees of each other from January 21 to 24, and they’re separated by less than 2 ½ degrees on the morning of January 22. On the morning of January 30, the waning crescent Moon hangs 7 degrees to the upper right of Jupiter. The next morning, January 31, the thin lunar crescent lies between Jupiter and Venus.

Saturn passed behind the sun (conjunction) on January 2. The ringed planet will reappear at dawn during the last week of January: scan the southeast horizon with binoculars between 45 minutes and one hour before sunrise looking for a pinpoint of light in the colours of dawn.

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