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Night Sky NewsPlanet Parade - Pre-Dawn Late January 2016

Planet Parade – Pre-Dawn Late January 2016

planetParadeJan2016
Image – courtesy Stellarium

If you are up before sunrise in the last two weeks of January 2016, you get to see at least 4 planets…  plus Mercury. Mercury however  is always close to the Sun and hard to spot; so it may elude you.  See our tips from last year on how to find Mercury: January 2015 – Finding planet Mercury with a little help from Venus. However last year, around this time, Mercury was in the  sky before sunset (hence east of the Sun) and therefore approaching eastern elongation. This year, February 6, Mercury approaches greatest western elongation from the Sun see In the sky…

The planet parade starts after 11pm E.D.T with Jupiter first to rise above the horizon. If you observe it with a small telescope, you will be able to see the 4 closest moons of that planet.

Planets in order of appearance:

  • Jupiter (magnitude -1.87)
  • Mars (magnitude 1.17)
  • Saturn(magnitude 0.7)
  • Venus(magnitude -3.45) and…
  • Mercury( magnitude 1.22) – probably hidden from view due to the glare of the Sun.

Venus if the brightest at magnitude -3.45 (smaller magnitude, brighter object).

Magnitude Scale is shown below:

magnitudeScale

Notice also the  bright stars in the image: Arcturus (magnitude 0.15)  and Spica (magnitude 0.95)

planetParadeJan2016

 

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