This is the Saint Louis Science Center’s NIGHT SKY UPDATE for the week of Tuesday, January 15. Times are given as local St. Louis time in Central Standard Time due to the time change coming this Sunday. For definitions of terminology used in the night sky update, click the highlighted text.

Information updated weekly or as needed.

Join us for our next star party, Friday, February 1, 2019 held in association with the St. Louis Astronomical Society. For details, see the information at the bottom of this page.

The Sun and Moon

Sunrise is at 7:17 a.m. on Tuesday, January 15 and sunset is at 5:03 p.m. providing us with about 9.5 hours of daylight. Even after sunset, the light from the sun will still dimly illuminate our sky for about 1.5 hours. This period is called twilight, which ends around 6:37 p.m. this week. For those with a sun dial, solar transit or local noon occurs around 12:10 a.m. this week.

Day

Sunrise

Sunset

15 Jan

7:17 a.m.

5:03 p.m.

16 Jan

7:17 a.m.

5:05 p.m.

17 Jan

7:17 a.m.

5:06 p.m.

18 Jan

7:16 a.m.

5:07 p.m.

19 Jan

7:16 a.m.

5:08 p.m.

20 Jan

7:15 a.m.

5:09 p.m.

21 Jan

7:15 a.m.

5:10 p.m.

22 Jan

7:14 a.m.

5:11 p.m.

23 Jan

7:13 a.m.

5:12 p.m.

Moonrise for Tuesday, January 15 occurs at 12:35 p.m. and moonset will occur at 2:19 a.m. on the following day. On Tuesday, January 15 the moon will be exhibiting a waxing gibbous phase with roughly 65% of the lunar disk illuminated. Full moon occurs on January 20.

January 20/21 Total Lunar Eclipse: On the evening of January 20 the Americas will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. This will be the first good total lunar eclipse we have seen in a few years. The eclipse begins around 9:10 p.m. and will last until 1:15 a.m. lasting about four hours.

Partial eclipse begins at 9:34 p.m. and totality begins at 10:41 p.m. Totality will last about 63 minutes. During totality the moon will appear in the south with its maximum altitude peaking at 63° above the horizon. The next total lunar eclipse visible from North America will not be until May 26, 2021.

In the case of inclement weather, the SLOOH telescope will broadcast the eclipse online starting at 9:30 p.m. CST.

International Space Station (ISS) Observing

Visible passes of ISS from St. Louis for the week of January 15 occur during evening hours. The best of these occurs on the evening of January 22. Use the table below for information about this and other visible passes of ISS.

Catch ISS from St. Louis starting Tuesday, January 15

Mag

Starts

Max. altitude

Ends

Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.

20 Jan

-2.5 18:42:10 10 SSW 18:44:30 28 SSE 18:44:30 28 SSE

21 Jan

-1.8 17:51:18 10 SSE 17:53:18 15 SE 17:55:07 11 E

21 Jan

-1.4 19:26:19 10 WSW 19:27:49 24 W 19:27:49 24 W
22 Jan -3.9 18:34:16 10 SW 18:37:32 83 SE 18:38:20 48 ENE
23 Jan -3.1 17:42:33 10 SSW 17:45:38 39 SE 17:48:43 10 ENE
23 Jan -1.6 19:19:28 10 W 19:21:28 22 NW 19:21:28 22 NW

 

Magnitude (Mag): The Measure of brightness for a celestial object. The lower the value is, the brighter the object will be.

Altitude (Alt): The angle of a celestial object measured upwards from the observer’s horizon.

Azimuth (Az): The direction of a celestial object, measured clockwise from an observer’s location with north being 0°, east being 90°, south being 180° and west being 270°.

For information about ISS flyovers and other visible satellites, visit www.heavens-above.com

Detailed information regarding all unmanned exploration of our universe, missions past, present, and planned, can be found at Jet Propulsion Laboratories:

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/

The Planets Visible Without a Telescope

This week three of the naked eye planets are visible. The two that will be easy to see are Venus and Mars. Venus has started a morning apparition rising before the sun and Mars will be seen shortly after sunset in the south. Jupiter on the other hand will be a bit tougher to see. It is rising a little before the sun.

Venus

Venus has started another morning apparition. You can find the brightest planet rising in the east by 3:52 a.m. By 4:30 a.m. Venus should be high enough to clear trees and buildings. Venus will spend the first half of 2019 as an early morning target

Mars

The red planet can be found in the south as the sun sets. With opposition having come and gone the bright appearance of Mars will begin to fade. Mars will set by 11:09 p.m.

Jupiter

The king of the planets is beginning another apparition. Jupiter is rising by 4:30 a.m. and should clear trees by 5:00 a.m. As we approach the date of January 22, 2019 you will see Jupiter and Venus getting closer in the sky. On the 22nd the pair will be in conjunction. If you would like to see this, you will need to get up early and look east after 5:00 a.m.

Our next Star Party will be held on Friday, Fenruary 1, 2019, from dusk until 10 p.m.

As part of the Saint Louis Science Center’s First Fridays, weather permitting, the St. Louis Astronomical Society and the Science Center will set up a number of telescopes outdoors and be on-hand to answer your questions. Telescope viewing begins once it is dark. Regardless of the weather on January 4, join us indoors in our planetarium theater for “The Sky Tonight”. Showtime is at 7 p.m.

This free, indoor star program will introduce you to the current night sky, the planets, and the seasonal constellations. Doors open 15 minutes before show time. Shows begins at 7 p.m. Sorry, no late admissions due to safety issues in the darkened theater.

The St. Louis Astronomical Society helps host the monthly Star Parties at the Saint Louis Science Center which are held on the first Friday of each month. Our Monthly Star Parties are open to the public and free of charge. Telescope viewing is scheduled to start around 7:00 p.m.