By Heather Durham | December 30, 2023
Happy New Year one and all! Before we begin discussing the new year, let’s travel back to last month for an Artemis update.
The space.com website gives us a brief but informative overview as follows:
NASA’s Artemis 1 moon mission, the agency’s first big step toward returning astronauts to the lunar surface, launched to the moon on Nov. 16 on a critical test flight to return astronauts to the moon. It splashed down on Dec. 11.
Artemis 1 is the first test flight of the agency’s new Space Launch System megarocket and the Orion spacecraft. The SLS rocket launched the uncrewed Orion spacecraft on a 26-day mission, during which it will orbit the moon before returning to Earth (Howell, Malik, 2022).
In addition, universe.com gives us a glimpse of what can be expected during this year.
Astronomy 2023 highlights include two fine solar eclipses, the Sun heading towards solar maximum, a series of spectacular lunar occultations and much more.
Been out enjoying the sky in 2022? The past year saw two fine total lunar eclipses, a surprise meteor outburst from the Tau Heraclids, a fine occultation of Mars by the Moon and more. Astronomy 2023 promises more of the same, plus much more” (Flannery, 2022).
Now, let us review January’s events.
January 3. Our Moon and Mars will travel close to each other and rise to the right.
January 4. The Quadrantid meteor shower will be its most prolific today. As well, our Earth will be at its closest point towards the Sun.
January 6. Today brings the full Wolf Moon.
January 12. Mars appears to reverse its direction.
January 14. The Moon will be in its final quarter.
January 19. The γ-Ursae Minorid meteor shower should peak today.
January 23. Mercury will reach its highest place in the sky.
January 24. Mercury will be at half phase and will shine brightly.
January 25. The Moon and Jupiter will rise to the right and orbit close to each other.
January 30. Mercury will be shining brightly as it reaches its greatest separation from the Sun. The Moon and Mars will travel close to each other and rise to the right.
Ford, D.F. (n.d.). December 2022. Retrieved from in-the-sky.org