January Sky Charts

Solar Ephemeris for Kendal

  • on Monday the 15th of January 2024:
  • sunrise occurs 08:21
  • sunset occurs 16:19
  • Astronomical dark begins 18:27
  • Astronomical dark ends 06:13 the next morning

Kendal Ephemerides for today are on our Welcome page

Moon Phase Chart

Phase January 2024
3rd Quarter4th
New Moon11th
1st Quarter18th
Full Moon25th

Skip down to the sky charts

January Highlights

The Milky Way is overhead and the asterism of the Summer Triangle consisting of Altair, Vega and Deneb still very prominent although we lose it early evening as Altair sets around 19:00. This is a great time of year to see objects of interest in the constellations at the zenith: Auriga, Perseus and Cassiopeia.

The most obvious star cluster is The Double Cluster (NGC 884/869) situated between Cassiopeia and Perseus. In addition, there is Caroline’s Rose, NGC7789, and M103 in Cassiopeia, M34 in Perseus, M29 and M39 in Cygnus for starters. The area is a joy to behold in binoculars on a dark night. For wide field imaging photographic targets, what could be better than M31, The Great Andromeda Galaxy and nearby telescopic M33. In addition, there is the North America Nebula complex NGC7000, in Cygnus and the California Nebula, NGC1499.

On double stars, you must look at Albireo, b-Cygni. This is a beautiful low power telescopic object the brighter star golden and the dimmer one blue. Similarly, Almach in Andromeda is a pretty colourful double and not too far away. Roughly half way between Almach and Cassiopeia, is the planetary nebula M76, The Little Dumbbell in Perseus, a telescopic object.

In Perseus, we have another open cluster, M34, and nearby is Algol, the prototype for a class of eclipsing variable stars. Usually magnitude 2.1, it drops to 3.4 every 2.86 days – (2 days 20 hours 49 min), a rather noticeable change. The star is eclipsed for about 2 hours. The Sky & Telescope magazine website has a useful calculator for the predicted mid-eclipse times. See: Minima of Algol.

Looking south, Orion is now prominent in this general direction. The most obvious telescopic and binocular target is the magnificent Great Orion Nebula, M42. In nearby Taurus, there is The Pleiades M45, which is easily seen naked eye as a fuzzy patch easily resolvable as stars in a pair of binoculars. This object makes a good widefield photo-op as well as a great telescopic image when misty gas becomes visible. You can also get both M45 using a 150mm focal length lens on a DSLR mounted on a tracker mount (e.g. Ioptron or Skywatcher Star Adventurer etc). A much more open cluster in Taurus is the vee of the Hyades with Aldebaran at one end. In addition, there is the Crab Nebula M1, roughly midway between Capella and Betelgeuse. This fine supernova remnant, the result of the supernova recorded by Chinese astronomers in 1054, is a wonderful telescopic photographic object. If you have sufficient resolution, and image every few years, it is possible to see changes within the nebula – a great long-term project!

Watch out for aurora across the northern region of sky.

Sky Charts for January

Looking up, south is at the bottom.

Looking up, south is at the bottom.

Looking up, south is at the bottom. Click for larger image.

Looking South in January

Looking South in January

Looking South in January. Click for larger image.

Looking East in January

Looking East in January

Looking East in January. Click for larger image.

Looking West in January

Looking West in January

Looking West in January. Click for larger image.

Looking North in January

Looking North in Januar

Looking North in January. Click for larger image.