The Night Sky - January 2020
Lying midway between Leo's Sickle and Gemini's famous twins Castor and Pollux you will find Cancer the Crab.
For most observers Cancer's hilight is M44 (The Beehive or known by it's Greek name Praesepe), an open star cluster with
a magnitude of +3.7. M44 is visible to the naked eye as a hazy patch and it is certainly a far less obvious open cluster than
M45 (The Pleiades).
January is also a good time to look high in the south after dark towards the constellations of Cassiopea and Perseus.
Perseus contains two interesting objects, the Double Cluster between the two constellations and Algol the 'Demon Star'.
Algol in an eclipsing binary system which normally the pair has a steady magnitude of 2.2 but every 2.86 days
this briefly drops to magnitude 3.4.
High Lights of the Month
- 4th (before dawn): Mars lies above Antares in Scorpius
- 7th (evening): The Moon lies within the Hyades Cluster
- 10th (after sunset): Venus lies above Delta Capricornus
- 27th (evening): A very thin crescent Moon lies between Venus and Mercury
Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine