THE SOLAR SYSTEM IN JANUARY 2020
Dates and times shown are NZDT (UT + 13 hours). Rise and Set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ. Data is adapted from that shown by GUIDE 9.
A penumbral eclipse of the Moon on the morning of January 11 is not observable from NZ. The early stages of the eclipse are visible from Australia. Being penumbral there will be little to see.
THE SUN and PLANETS in January 2020, Rise & Set Mag. & Cons. January 1 NZDT January 31 NZDT Mag Cons Rise Set Mag Cons Rise Set SUN -26.7 Sgr 5.48am 8.59pm -26.7 Cap 6.21am 8.45pm Merc -1.0 Sgr 5.17am 8.42pm -1.0 Cap 7.30am 9.29pm Venus -4.0 Cap 8.36am 11.03pm -4.1 Aqr 9.47am 10.30pm Mars 1.6 Lib 3.06am 5.42pm 1.4 Oph 2.18am 5.25pm Jup -1.8 Sgr 5.35am 8.43pm -1.9 Sgr 4.06am 7.09pm Sat 0.5 Sgr 6.45am 9.39pm 0.6 Sgr 5.01am 7.50pm Uran 5.7 Ari 3.19pm 2.03am 5.8 Ari 1.22pm 12.05am Nep 7.9 Aqr 11.23am 12.17am 7.9 Aqr 9.29am 10.21pm Pluto 14.6 Sgr 6.48am 9.46pm 14.6 Sgr 4.51am 7.48pm January 1 NZDT January 31 NZDT Twilights morning evening morning evening Civil: start 5.17am, end 9.31pm start 5.53am, end 9.14pm Nautical: start 4.34am, end 10.14pm start 5.15am, end 9.52pm Astro: start 3.43am, end 11.04pm start 4.33am, end 10.34pm January PHASES OF THE MOON, times NZDT & UT First quarter: Jan 3 at 5.45pm (04:45 UT) Full Moon: Jan 11 at 8.21am (Jan 10, 19:21 UT) Last quarter Jan 18 at 1.59am (Jan 17, 12:59 UT) New Moon: Jan 25 at 10.42am (Jan 24, 21:42 UT)
PLANETS in JANUARY 2020
MERCURY is at superior conjunction on January 11. As an evening object following conjunction it remains unobservable, setting during twilight.
VENUS is an evening object all month. On the 28th Venus passes Neptune with a minimum distance of some 3 arc minutes, at 9 am NZDT before it rises. By the evening, when visible in NZ, Venus will be just over half a degree from Neptune. In addition the crescent moon will then be 3.3° from the planet.
MARS is a morning object rising 4 hours before the Sun on the 31st. During its passage from Libra to Ophiuchus the planet crosses a narrow portion of Scorpius. Mars will be passing Antares during January, the two being closest on the 19th and 20th when a little under 5° apart. A chance to compare the colour of the two, Antares being the brighter object.
The crescent moon is 3° from Mars, the opposite side to Antares, on the morning of the 21st.
JUPITER, having been at conjunction at the end of December, is too close to the Sun to observe early in January. By the end of the month it rises more than two hours before the Sun so should be visible low, in a direction a little to the south of east, by about 5.30 am.
On the afternoon of the 23rd the moon will occult Jupiter. The event is “observable” from NZ, the planet disappears at the sunlit limb of the Moon and reappears at the invisible, unlit, limb.
SATURN is at conjunction with the Sun on the 14th, so is not observable during January.
PLUTO is at conjunction a couple of hours before Saturn.
URANUS is an evening object setting well after midnight but will get low by the end of January.
NEPTUNE is an early evening object. By the end of January it sets just before the end of astronomical twilight.
POSSIBLE BINOCULAR ASTEROIDS in JANUARY January 1 NZDT January 31 NZDT Mag Cons transit Mag Cons transit (1) Ceres 9.0 Sgr 2.01pm 9.1 Cap 12.52pm (4) Vesta 7.5 Cet 9.26pm 8.0 Ari 7.39pm (5) Astraea 9.6 Cnc...3.02am 9.2 Cnc 12.39am
CERES is at conjunction with the Sun mid month, so is not observable.
VESTA is an evening object setting near 1 am by the 31st. It moves from Cetus to Aries mid month.
ASTRAEA is at opposition on January 21 with a magnitude 8.9.