March 2, 2024

Starry sky in January: the winter hexagon can be seen

Starry winter sky over Garmisch-Partenkirchen

The darker the environment, the more likely you are to see meteors

Source: Getty Images/dneutral han

At the beginning of January, it rains meteors: the Quadrantids meteor shower can be seen in the sky after midnight. Venus appears as the morning star, and it's worth looking in a certain direction for a stunning winter sparkle.

nAfter dark, you can see bright Jupiter in the southeast. Aside from the Moon (full moon on January 25), the planet is the brightest star in the evening sky.

At the beginning of the month it sets in the west around 3 a.m., and in mid-January just after 2 a.m., so there's plenty of time to use binoculars or a telescope to observe the path of its four brightest moons: evening after evening they're in different positions, but always in one straight line. .

We have to say goodbye to the ringed planet Saturn for a long time in the middle of the month. On the first evenings of January, it can be seen just above the southwestern horizon just before sunset, just before 9 p.m.

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Venus begins the new year as a bright morning star. In early January it rises shortly after 5 a.m. in the southeast. It appears small and round in a telescope because it is far from us and is almost completely illuminated by the sun.

You can observe a particularly large number of meteors until January 10. This is the Quadrantid meteor shower. The maximum is reached on the 4th of the month and the best time for observation is after midnight.

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In a typical Central European winter sky, the view from the southeast and south is particularly impressive: you can find the stunning winter hexagram with the bright stars Sirius in Canis Major, Rigel in Orion, Aldebaran in Taurus, Capella in Foreman, and Castor in Gemini and Procyon in Canis Minor.

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The Milky Way passes through the winter hexagon and crosses the zenith to the northwest. There you can find the W-shaped Cassiopeia and the bright star Deneb in the Swan.

In the west, the autumn constellations Andromeda and Pegasus bid farewell, and in the southwest Pisces expands. In the east, the lion heralds the spring sky; To the northeast is the Big Dipper, whose main stars form the Big Dipper.

The sun always shows amazing spots and flares. This could also lead to the northern lights in our latitudes.

On January 3, the Earth reaches its closest position to the sun, but this does not affect the course of the seasons. These occur due to the tilt of the Earth's axis.

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