Weymouth Astronomy

The Planets - January 2020

Observing the planets can be extremely rewarding. Everyone remembers the first time they observed Saturn and it's rings or the gas giant Jupiter and it's Galillean Moons. Solar System


Mercury. passes in front of the Sun (superior conjunction) on the 10th of January so will not be visible until the very end of the month.


Venus rises rapidly in the twilight sky this month. As January begins it can be best seen shining at magnitude -4 at about 5pm having an elevation of 11 degrees above the south-western horizon. As the month progresses its elevation at sunset increases and will be best seen at about 6pm having an elevation of 22 degrees.


Mars can be seen towards the southeast in the pre-dawn sky at the start of the month. It then rises some three hours before the Sun and will be best seen at around 7am having an elevation of 11 degrees.


Jupiter passed behind the Sun on December 27th, 2019 and will be lost in the Sun's glare in the early part of January. By the month's end Jupiter will rise about an hour before the Sun. A low eastern horizon will be needed and our views of the giant planet and its Gallilean moons will be hindered by the depth of atmosphere through which it will be observed.


Saturn passes directly behind the Sun on the 13th of January so cannot be seen until the very end of the month. With binoculars and a very low eastern horizon it might be glimpsed at magnitude 0.6 in the pre-dawn sky as it rises about 40 minutes before the Sun.

Information collated from Jodrell Bank and Astronomy Now magazine