Astronomical events for the month of January 2018

Jace Amodo
PUBLISHED January 4, 2018 01:10 pm
Photo by Petros Giannakouris/AP

(Inside Manila) The state weather bureau has recently released the anticipated sky events including planet whereabouts, eclipse, and moon phases for the first month of the year. Watch the sky at these dates.


January 2: Supermoon


The full moon of January will fall on this day at 10:24 a.m. (PST). With a distance of 356,846 km from our planet, by definition, it is considered a supermoon—the first for 2018 and the second of the so-called “supermoon trilogy.”


READ: Science 101: What exactly is a Supermoon?


The closest it will get to the planet will be at 5:54 a.m., with a distance of 356,565 km. This astronomical event follows the spectacular view that is the December Supermoon and will be followed by the one at the end of the month.


January 4: Quadrantid Meteor Shower Peak


2018’s first major meteor shower which comes right after the full moon—the brightest for the year at that—wil be unfortunately outshined and therefore easy to miss.


The Quadrantid meteor shower that appears to radiate in the constellation Boötes, the Herdsman, is happening from the 1st to 6th, with peak dates on January 3 and 4. According to NASA's Hubble Space Telescope mission team, the 2018 Quadrantids could give up to 40 meteors per hour overnight the peak dates.


It’s not as well-known as the Geminid or Orionid due to the nature of its meteors but these incinerated dust from the near-Earth asteroid 2003 EH debris still produce fireballs with giant and glowing tails.


January 7: Mars-Jupiter Conjunction


The Solar System’s largest planet and the Red Planet will share the same right ascension, with Jupiter passing 0°12' to the north of Mars.


January 9: Moon at Last Quarter


The last quarter of the moon of January will fall on this day at 6:25 a.m. (PST).


January 15: Moon at Apogee


On this day, the Moon will reach its farthest distance along its orbit to the Earth at 406,423 km. It will appear slightly smaller at 10:10 a.m. (PST) compared to typical nights.


January 17: New Moon


The new moon of January will fall on this day at 10:17 a.m. (PST).


January 25: Moon at First Quarter


The first quarter of the moon of January will fall on this day at 6:20 a.m. (PST).


January 30: Moon at Perigee


Given that the lunar cycle is 29 days and most months have 30 to 31 days, we often see a full moon at the beginning and end of the same month. On this day at 5:54 p.m. (PST), the Moon will reach its second nearest distance along its orbit to the Earth for the month at 358,995 km, which will make it appear slightly larger compared to typical nights.


January 31: Total Lunar Eclipse


The second full moon of January—and the last to complete the “supermoon trilogy”—will fall on this day at 6:49 p.m. (PST) before fading from view at around 12:09 a.m. (PST) the next day. The moon will be on its greatest eclipse at 9:29 p.m. (PST), with a distance of 360,199 km.


Observers need not use eye protective filters of any kind as lunar eclipses are safe to watch, though a binocular or a telescope will help magnify the view and the moon’s red coloration brighter.

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