We’re on to a new year and our January moon is full THIS Friday, and while you’ve heard of supermoons this one is the opposite: a micromoon. Supermoons are simply full moons that are closer to Earth in orbit (perigee) while micromoons are farther away (apogee). While supermoons are generally 226,000 miles away from Earth, micromoons are 250,000 miles away -- this month’s full moon is 252,600 miles out! Here is a fifteen second video from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory illustrating the two:
This month’s moon is called the full wolf moon because “in the old days” this time of year hungry wolves could be heard howling at that moon! You can read more about it from the Farmer’s Almanac here.
Our forecast looks clear after Tuesday, so that moon will be beautiful and, as luck would have it, the Quadrantid meteor shower is currently active and peaks on Tuesday Night/Wednesday morning -- so clearing the sky will be close but some nice fireballs may show up! Here is more from AMSmeteors.
Lots of planets are visible in those night skies this month, especially Mars which will be bright and red! Jupiter will hang out in the southwest sky. Saturn can be seen on the low horizon, also southwest, and gool ol’ Venus will be the brightest out there. Mercury is close to Venus in the evening until mid month but then switches to be seen pre-dawn. Here’s more from EarthSky.org on which planets are where and when this month!
Speaking of which, EarthSky turned me on to an amazing website which shows the night sky from your location. There are lots of different options to chose from including what time planets can be seen and just how visible they are. For instance, I called up this chart yesterday:
Drumroll please.......the site is StellariumWeb and it’s really well-done and fun to use. If you are one who got a new telescope or other sky watching equipment over the holidays, then it’s a must! And, yes, you can download a mobile version to your phone!
Happy 2023 and here’s to an exciting year of sky watching!
Email me with questions or ideas!