January's astronomy podcast describes how to spot Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn in the predawn sky during January — plus you'll learn about a "trifecta" full Moon at month's end.

Don't let winter's chill keep you from seeing the beautiful stars and planets arrayed in the night sky. (Believe it or not, Earth is closer to the Sun in early January than it is at any other time of the year.)

Jupiter-Mars-Moon on January 10-12
Jupiter and Mars, joined by the crescent Moon, will create a dramatic trio in the predawn sky in mid-January.
Sky & Telescope

Planet-wise, all the action is in the morning sky before dawn. Go out 30 to 60 minutes before dawn, and you'll easily spot Jupiter well up in the southeast. But what's that other bright "star" right next to it? It's Mars! Listen to this month's astronomy podcast to figure out how they glide pass each other and when they'll be closest together.

Meanwhile, to their lower left, near the horizon, Mercury is making its best showing of the year. If you time your viewing just right, you'll be able to spot Saturn very close by. When will that happen? Check out this month's astronomy podcast for the answer!

To get started in stargazing — or to take a casual tour around the night sky — listen to or download our monthly astronomy podcast below. It provides an 8-minute-long tour of the stars and planets that you'll see this month.


Image of Karl-Link


December 29, 2017 at 6:58 pm

I enjoyed the comments. I can circle the dates on my new astronomy calendar to view what was discussed. Thanks,

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Image of Graham-Wolf


January 3, 2018 at 9:31 pm

Thanks, Kelly.

Your colleague Bob King has just updated the planetary conjunction in greater detail, for later this week. I'm also certainly looking forward to the Total Lunar Eclipse on the 31st.... I'm somewhat overdue for a non-murphied version of THAT!

Certainly a monthly trifecta for Jan 2018, as you have described.
Couldn't agree more.

You and Bob don't actually pray to the same weather gods, by any chance, do you?

Graham W. Wolf at 46 South, Dunedin.

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Image of James-Anderson


January 4, 2018 at 4:10 pm

How about another graphic showing Mercury & Saturn as spoke of! What? No comment this month about the total lunar eclipse?

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