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NASA: What’s up for January – Close encounters of the planetary kind

PASADENA, Ca. (NASA JPL) – Hello and welcome. I’m Jane Houston Jones at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. 

It’s easy and fun to find planets when they’re next to the moon. 

Saturn is visible in the southeastern dawn sky near Virgo’s bright white star Spica and the moon on the fifth. And to the left of the moon on the sixth. 

NASA JPL

NASA JPL

NASA JPL

NASA JPL

On the 10th, Venus will be next to the crescent moon before dawn. 

NASA JPL

NASA JPL

In the evening sky, catch red Mars low to the horizon. You’ll find it to the left of the slender crescent moon on the 12th. 

NASA JPL

NASA JPL

Look the next night and you’ll see the crescent moon is bigger and above Mars. 

Jupiter continues to reign supreme this month. So try to join a local star party to see its amazing details through a telescope. You won’t need a telescope to see some close encounters with the moon and Jupiter this month. 

In the early evening of Jan. 10, you’ll find Jupiter below the Pleiades, halfway up in the eastern sky.

NASA JPL

NASA JPL

Then, between Jan. 20 and 23, you’ll see the moon pass from Jupiter’s right to its left. They are less than 1 degree apart on the evening of the 21st. Look at 8 p.m. Pacific or 11 p.m. Eastern to see this close pairing. 

NASA JPL

NASA JPL

Meanwhile, you can also find where NASA’s Juno, Dawn and even the Voyager spacecraft are against the constellations.  Just use NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System ( eyes.nasa.gov ).

To learn about all of NASA’s missions, visit www.nasa.gov

That’s all for this month. I’m Jane Houston Jones. 

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