Interested in astronomy? There’s not a better time to get into it. This week will be a great one for veteran skywatchers and novice alike.
A Brightening Comet
The highlight of the week will be Comet Lovejoy. On Wednesday night, it will be at its closest distance to earth – around 43.5 million miles away. Astronomers expect the comet to brighten to 4th magnitude over the next couple of weeks. A perfect target for skywatchers with binoculars. Naked-eye observations will also be possible for those with dark skies (no city lights).
Sky and Telescope has a handy chart for where the comet will be every night this month. It will track to the right of Orion and up all month-long. On January 18th, Comet Lovejoy will be just to the right of Pleiades. I’m sure we’ll be seeing some fantastic shots of the comet that night.
Moon and Jupiter Hang Out
While you are checking out Comet Lovejoy, take a moment and check out Jupiter and the moon. The two will be separated by just 5 degrees.
Mercury and Venus Snuggle
On Saturday, January 10, Venus and Mars will be less than 1 degree apart. This will be the closest the two planets come together for the rest of the year. Look to the southwest at sunset on Saturday to see the two planets right beside each other.
This week offers plenty of awesome and easy things to see for beginner skywatchers.