Forget the hype and go outside to enjoy the real thing — a relatively bright comet you can see in binoculars from a dark sky.
Comet ZTF is at its best this week — but every night moonlight encroaches on the scene until a later and later hour. Along the way, the Moon occults Mars for the southern U.S. and again forms isosceles triangles with naked-eyestars.
Saturn starts the week well above bright Venus in twilight. Watch them close in on each other toward their conjunction on the 22nd. Jupiter and fading Mars shine high. Sirius sparkles below Orion, and binocular Comet ZTF enters its best three weeks.
For those well north of the equator, January’s long nights provide lots of time to enjoy the starry sky — and the stars of winter are spectacular! This month’s celestial highlights include a close pass of Saturn and Venus, a strong meteor shower, and much more. Our fun and factual Sky Tour podcast provides all the details.
Venus creeps up, Saturn sinks down; in three weeks the two shall meet. The Moon meets Mars Tuesday. Orion comes into his own to rule the winter, and Sirius emerges below him.
The luminous Geminid meteor shower returns. We also meet a binocular-bright star that may be experiencing Betelgeuse-like convulsions.