Pixabay image by Susan Cipriano
- January 2, 3 – Quadrantids Meteor Shower. The Quadrantids is an above average shower, with up to 40 meteors per hour at its peak. It is thought to be produced by dust grains left behind by an extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, which was discovered in 2003. The shower runs annually from January 1-5. It peaks this year on the night of the 2nd and morning of the 3rd. The waning gibbous moon will block out most of the faintest meteors this year. But if you are patient, you should still be able to catch a few good ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Bootes, but can appear anywhere in the sky.
- January 13 – New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 05:02 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
- January 24 – Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 18.6 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
- January 28 – Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 19:18 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Wolf Moon because this was the time of year when hungry wolf packs howled outside their camps. This moon has also been know as the Old Moon and the Moon After Yule.
Athabasca is home to the Athabasca University Geophysical Observatory (AUGO), part of an international network studying the subauroral zone.
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Star Walk HD
This is an astronomy app configured to your location.
Sky View is another astronomy app using your GPS enabled tablet or phone.
Dark Sky Meter
The Dark Sky Meter app allows you to use your smartphone to send data to aid creation of a world-wide map of light pollution.
Athabasca full moon chart:
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Clouds (Penguin 2006)