Sky Report by Ted Gruber
Mercury (magnitude -0.7) is now visible low in the south-southwest sky soon after sunset. Through January 31, the innermost planet sets about 6:30pm, but by then it dims almost two full magnitudes to 1.1. Mercury remains visible through the first few days of February, but it will be a tough target as it quickly becomes dimmer and sets earlier each evening.
Mars (magnitude 0.2) becomes visible high in the southern sky as darkness falls. The red planet currently sets about 1:30am, and about 30 minutes earlier by mid-February. On the night of January 20, the first quarter moon appears just below Mars, with distant Uranus (5.8) directly between them and closer to Mars.
Venus (magnitude -3.9) currently rises about 7:00am and remains visible until fading into the morning sunlight. Jupiter (-2.0), Saturn (0.7), and Mercury (1.9) cluster together with Venus in south-southeastern morning sky just before sunrise starting in early February, but all but Jupiter and Venus will be difficult to see in the brightening sky. Late February will offer better viewing of the morning planets.
First (1/20), full (1/28), last (2/4), new (2/11), first (2/19), full (2/27).
Friends of Galileo
We are astronomy enthusiasts who love to learn and to share our wonder at the amazing sights right overhead.