Mercury rushes up into the evening twilight sky from mid January until the first week of February

putting on its best show this year. Look for it 45 minutes after sunset low in the SSW no more than a fist height at arm's length above the horizon. Mercury will be brightest at the start of the apparition, but will be lower down. A good period to observe will be between the 20th & 28th.  A slim crescent moon lies lower right on Jan 31st.

Having been so conspicuous in the evening twilight sky, Venus sinks toward the SW horizon as we head into the New Year and is lost in solar glare by mid January.  At the end of January Venus emerges into the morning sky. A crescent moon lies close by on Jan 2nd.                                                                                                                                  

Residing in Gemini, prominent Jupiter dominates the evening sky coming to opposition on the 5th and is therefore visible all night. Look for the dark bands across the disk and nearby Galilean moons, easily seen in a telescope or good pair of binoculars. The moon lies nearby on Jan 14th.

Mars is still really a morning object, rising shortly before midnight. The red planet is starting to brighten; although telescopically it remains very small and pretty featureless. (opposition is not until April) By the end of January Mars lies very close (just to the left) of the chief star in Virgo; Spica. The moon joins them on Jan 23rd / 24th.              

Saturn is also visible in the dawn sky from 5am onwards. Look for it a couple of hand spans to the lower left of Spica and Mars. The moon lies nearby on Jan 25th.


Woke up at half 6 this morning to see it was a clear sky. Obviously I looked at the brightest things in the sky so after a couple of star clusters I found saturn for the first time and I could see it's rings not to much detail because I only have a 10mm eyepiece and no filters as yet. Also found Mars which was quite small but was unmistakably red in colour. I have the celestron astromaster 114eq telescope, and need help setting it up correctly.