January 2018

                              Tony Martinez

Each month I will describe sights of interest in the night skies of South Carolina. These sights will be broken down into four sections: what you can see with the naked eye, with binoculars, with a small refracting telescope and with a Dobsonian reflector. The best time to view the night sky is at and around the times when the Moon is not visible, what is known as a New Moon; which will occur this month on January 16th. For January, your best viewing nights will be from January 6th to the 20th. The Star chart below is set for Florence, SC on January 15th at 9 pm. Note: A new table of contents for earlier columns is located in this January 2018 column.

Updated Table of Contents:
In addition to reporting seasonal and timely astronomy events each month, in many columns I discuss specific astronomy topics.  Example: if you want to know more about using “Big Binoculars,” go to February 2015, finder scopes, December 2012, etc. Therefore, every few years I will update the table of contents for the monthly astronomy topics.

Tony’s Astronomy Corner Topics:

  1. Accessories – Oct 2008, Feb 2014, March 2014
  2. Achro vs Apochromatic Lenses – July 2016
  3. Albireo – July 2009
  4. Andromeda – Oct 2009, Oct 2014, Jan 2017
  5. Arcturus – May 2008, May 2017
  6. Asterisms – Oct 2012, Dec 2014
  7. Asteroids – Aug 2011
  8. Astronomy Corner Table of Contents – Feb 2016
  9. Autumn Skies – Oct 2015
  10. Beehive Cluster(M44) – March 2016
  11. Big Binoculars – May 2010, Feb 2015
  12. Binocular Astronomy – Oct 2012
  13. Blue Moon – July 2011
  14. Canopus – April 2017
  15. Cascades – Feb 2013
  16. Clear Sky Chart – Oct 2010, Sept 2016, Oct 2017
  17. Coat Hanger Asterism – July 2009
  18. Color in the Night Sky – May 2016
  19. Comet ISON – Oct 2013, Nov 2013
  20. Comets – Jan 2013, March 2013, April 2013
  21. Constellations – Feb 2011
  22. Curiosity – Dec 2011, Aug 2012, Sept 2012
  23. Dobson, John – Feb 2009
  24. Double Cluster – Nov 2008, Nov 2009
  25. Dwarf Planets – June 2009, July 2014
  26. Finder Scopes – Sept 2009, Dec 2012
  27. Fomalhaut – Dec 2008
  28. Geminids – Dec 2012, 2014, Dec 2015, Dec 2016
  29. Green Flash – April 2017
  30. Harvest Moon – Nov 2010, Oct 2016
  31. Iridium Flares – April 2016
  32. ISS – March 2009, June 2015
  33. Jupiter – August 2008, Aug 2009, Sept 2009, July 2010, Feb 2013, March 2016
  34. Leonids – Nov 2009
  35. Lunar Eclipse – April 2014, Sept 2015
  36. Lunar Observing – May 2013, Sept 2014
  37. M104 – March 2011
  38. M13 “Where is” Program – July 2009
  39. M27 – July 2009
  40. M42 – Jan 2011
  41. M81 and M82 – June 2008
  42. Mercury – Dec 2009, Feb 2013
  43. Messier Marathon – March 2011, March 2012, March 2015, March 2016
  44. Messiers – June 2008, April 2009, July 2010, June 2013, Aug 2014
  45. Meteor Showers – Aug 2010, Dec 2011, Dec 2012
  46. Milky Way – May 2008
  47. Milky Way Shape – Dec 2008
  48. Milky Way Summer – July 2008
  49. Neptune – May 2009, Dec 2016
  50. Northern Cross(Cygnus the Swan) – Nov 2017
  51. Orion Constellation – Dec 2016
  52. Perseids – Aug 2010, Aug 2012, Aug 2013, Aug 2014, August 2015, August 2016
  53. Planetary Nebula – July 2011
  54. Planets: Dance of – April 2010
  55. Planets: Minor – May 2011
  56. Planets: New 9th – June 2011
  57. Planets: View perspective – Nov 2011
  58. Pluto – May 2011, July 2015, August 2015
  59. Quadrantids Meteor Shower – Jan 2016
  60. Red Dot Finder – Sept 2009
  61. Saturn – April 2013, May 2013, June 2014, May 2015, June 2015, June 2016, June 2017
  62. ScienceSouth Astronomy – Sept 2011
  63. Sidewalk Astronomy – Feb 2009, March 2009
  64. Solar Eclipse – July, Aug, Sept 2017
  65. Solar Observing – June 2011
  66. Springtime Skies – April 2015, May 2017
  67. Star Associations – Dec 2010
  68. Star Birth – Jan 2011
  69. Star Gazing by Constellation – Sept 2013
  70. Star Gazing Techniques – July 2013
  71. Star Hopping – Sept 2012
  72. Star Names – Jan 2012
  73. Star Parties – Sept 2008, Nov 2011, May 2015
  74. Star Party Phone Maps – April 2009
  75. Starry Night Program – Mar 2010
  76. Summer Milky Way – July 2012
  77. Summer Observing – July 2009, June 2017
  78. Summer Triangle – July 2009
  79. Telescope: Buying – Every November
  80. Telescopes: GoTo – Aug 2009
  81. Trapezium – Jan 2011
  82. Triangulum Galaxy – Jan 2010
  83. Uranus – June 2010, Feb 2012, Sept 2012, Feb 2017
  84. Venus Transit – June 2012
  85. Vesta – Feb 2010
  86. Virgo Cluster – April 2010, April 2012

Winter Constellations:
A New Year’s resolution. This month find one or more people who never heard of the Orion constellation, and bring them outside and point it out; I will try to do the same. I have been surprised/shocked over the years to find that so many people have no concept of what or where is Orion. Be sure to avoid having the Moon wash out its splendor. You will have a nice dark two week window in the middle of the month. I recognize that light pollution has ruined star gazing for many people; especially along the East Coast corridor, but Orion stands out as a bright wonderful grouping of stars that has delighted the eye since people walked the Earth.

If you wish, you can show your friends some of the stars and features of Orion; check out my December 2016 column. If they are at all interested, have binoculars ready to check out the “sword” and the Orion Nebula.

If your binoculars are handy, check out the three open clusters in Auriga, and the one at the left foot of Gemini.

Naked Eye Sights: The constellation Orion; show your friends. The Pleiades. The Taurus “V.”

Binocular Sights (7 to 10 power): The Pleiades Cluster and the Orion Nebula.

Big Binocular Sights (18 to 25 power): The Double Cluster in Perseus.  The Pleiades. The Orion Nebula.

Telescope Sights (60-100mm): Orion Nebula

Dobsonian telescope (6 -8 inch): The blue ball planet Uranus in the southwest in Pisces.

See you next month!

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