Sky Notes for January 2020

The Quadrantid Meteor shower

The Quadrantids quickly reach a peak at 04:00 in the morning of Saturday 4th January. The seven-day-old moon will set beforehand at midnight. Furthermore, meteor showers come in faster (hence brighter) and at a higher frequency after midnight (when your sky is facing the direction the Earth is orbiting around the sun). If the weather is clear, worth the effort in the unsocial hours.

The radiant of the Quadrantids. Credit Sky and Telescope.


One of the brighter stars in winter’s prominent constellation is in the news: What’s Up With Betelgeuse?

The red supergiant’s magnitude varies from 0.2 magnitude down to 1.3. To follow these variations over winter months compare Betelgeuse with its three near-neighbours Aldebaran (0,9m), Bellatrix (1.6m) and Rigel (0.9).

Orion rising in January

The planets

Venus will rise higher through the early evening sky this month

More notes after our first meeting on Thursday 9th January.

See also Ian Morison’s Night Sky this Month on the Jodrell Bank site.


Boundary Bank where we meet (click to enlarge)

Next Observing Evening

Proposed observing Evenings Thursday January 16th

  • UPDATE Tuesday January 14th 6pm, – forecast is looking very poor – 100% cloud and heavy rain. It’s not looking good.
  • UPDATE Thursday January 16th 12pm – all my apps are saying 100% cloudy with strong winds and showers. Sorry, it isn’t going to happen.
  • Time: 6PM onwards
  • Place: Boundary Bank Lane car park
Watch here for updates as the weather conditions dictate when we can meet for an evening of observing. The Traffic Light System:
  1. When the forecast looks feasible the text here will change from red to amber.
  2. On the proposed afternoon, if and when the observing session is confirmed (by 4:30PM), the text will confirm the time and change from amber to green.
DO NOT TURN OUT IF THIS TEXT IS OTHER THAN GREEN, as there won’t be anyone there!