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Thursday, January 7, 2010

January Star Map

If the sky is clear, Janaury is an excellent month for stagazing. Quite a number of the brightest stars in the sky are visible. Most notable, are Sirius (the brightest of all nighttime stars) and Canopus (2nd brightest).
Sirus is the "king of the twinklers". Its bright white light becomes highly refracted as is passes through our atmosphere, causing it to the twinkle more than most stars. You may even see it flash with some colours of the rainbow.

One the highlights is of course Orion. Located almost right overhead, its 7 brightest stars should be clearly visible, including the three stars of Orion's belt. On Fridays we'll be focusing our scopes on a tiny speck in Orion, The Great Orion Nebula, great to look at especially in the big 16" scope, where we can see the tight cluster of stars known as the trapizium and hopefully the glow of the gas cloud that surrounds them.

Of course, I have to mention the return of the red planet Mars to our evening sky.
Probably, visible around 9:30pm, low towards the east, Mars will reach opposition (in direct line with Earth and Sun) on 29th Jan, where it will be at its brightest for the year.

January's Star Map:

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