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Kiss the Sky Tonight -- Month of January 2021
Happy New Year and welcome to the night sky report for January 2021 -- Your guide to the constellations, deep sky objects, planets, and celestial events that are observable during the month. The winter sky is filled with brilliant stars. In January, the northern hemisphere features beautiful views of Capella - a pair of giant yellow stars, Aldebaran - a red giant star, two star clusters - the Hyades (Caldwell 41) and the Pleiades (M45), and the Crab Nebula (M1, NGC 1952). Earth reaches the closest point in its elliptical orbit around the Sun, called perihelion on January 2. The Sun won't appear noticeably larger in the sky – only about 3% larger. (Of course, you should never look at the Sun without proper eye protection. Remember, sunglasses are not sufficient for viewing the Sun). The distant, outer planet Uranus is too faint to see with the unaided eye, and it can be tough to locate in the sky without a computer-guided telescope. But on January 20, Uranus will be located right between the Moon and Mars. Look for Mercury in the last two weeks of January. You'll need a clear view toward the west, as Mercury will appear just a few degrees above the horizon. The night sky is truly a celestial showcase. Get outside and explore its wonders from your own backyard.
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