Episode 183 – Objects to Observe in January 2022 Show Notes

Welcome to Episode 183 of the Actual Astronomy Podcast, the Objects to Observe in the January 2022 Night Sky Edition. I’m Chris and joining me is Shane. We are amateur astronomers who love looking up at the night sky and this podcast is for anyone who likes going out under the stars. 

In this episode we’ll talk about what you can see this month in the night sky. This episode will release on our Podcast feed on December 30th, however, due to our cadence with 365 Days of Astronomy it won’t come out there until January 6th. I may see if they can release it early but if people want to be sure to get these sort of episodes and not miss out on what to see in the night sky you can subscribe to out direct feed…in addition to 365 of course 🙂

Jan. 1 – Event #1 – New Moon

Jan. 1 – Event #2 – Every event seems to have a name…so I’m gonna call this the great swish of the Planetary line up of Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Venus during dusk.

Jan. 1 – Event #3 – Venus appears as a 2% illuminated crescent. This will grow to 14% by the end of the month. 

Jan 3 – Quandratid Meteors Peak

Shane aren’t meteor showers named after the constellation of their radiant?

Where is the constellation Quantrad? Quantis? No wait that’s…

From wiki:

Quadrans Muralis was a constellation created by the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande in 1795. It depicted a wall-mounted quadrant with which he and his nephew Michel Lefrançois de Lalande had charted the celestial sphere, and was named Le Mural in the French atlas. It was between the constellations of Boötes and Draco, near the tail of Ursa Major, containing stars between β Bootis (Nekkar) and η Ursae Majoris (Alkaid).

Johann Elert Bode converted its name to Latin as Quadrans Muralis and shrank the constellation a little in his 1801 Uranographia star atlas, to avoid it clashing with neighbouring constellations

It was eventually eliminated by the IAU

More on this defunct constellation at ian ridpath’s startales site: http://www.ianridpath.com/startales/quadrans.html

This is in Bootes just off the handle of the big dipper actually.

Jan. 3 – at Dusk the Moon Joins Mercury in binos / low power scopes

6- degree FOV shown here, I think it’ll be tough.

Jan 4 – Moon & Saturn

Jan 5 – Moon & Jupiter

Jan 7 – Mercury at Greatest Elongation East (Evening)

Jan 8th to 17th Saturn and Mercury in same binocular field…likely best ~12th

Jan 9th – Lunar X visible this evening near Werner from Wikipedia

The Lunar X (also known as the Werner X) is a clair-obscur effect in which light and shadow creates the appearance of a letter ‘X’ on the rim of the Blanchinus, La Caille and Purbach craters.

The X is visible only for a few hours before the first quarter slightly below the lunar terminator. Near to the X, the Lunar V is also visible, formed by Ukert crater and several other small craters

Jan 11 – Lunar Straight Wall visible this evening

Rupes Recta is a linear fault on the Moon, in the southeastern part of the Mare Nubium at 22.1°S 7.8°W. The name is Latin for straight cliff, although it is more commonly called the Straight Wall. This is the most well-known escarpment on the Moon, and is a popular target for amateur astronomers.

When the sun illuminates the feature at an oblique angle at about day 8 of the Moon’s orbit, the Rupes Recta casts a wide shadow that gives it the appearance of a steep cliff. The fault has a length of 110 km, a typical width of 2–3 km, and a height of 240–300 m. Thus although it appears to be a vertical cliff in the lunar surface, in actuality the grade of the slope is relatively shallow.

To the west of this escarpment is the crater Birt, which is about 17 km in diameter. Also to the west is the Rima Birt rille. At the southern end is a group of hills often called the “Stag’s-Horn Mountains”, although this name is not officially recognized by the IAU.

To the northeast is the crater Alpetragius, and to the east is Thebit.

Jan 12 – Moon and Ceres less than 2-degrees, gets really close for places Further E.

Jan 13 – Asteroid Iris at Opposition and Mag. 7.7 in Gemini

From SkySafari-

Iris (7 Iris) is the fourth-brightest object in the asteroid belt, and the seventh asteroid ever discovered. Identified on August 13, 1847 by the English astronomer J. R. Hind, it is named after the Greek rainbow goddess and attendant to Hera. This is particularly fitting as Juno is the Roman version of the goddess Hera, and Iris was first discovered following (3) Juno by less than an hour of right ascension.

Iris regularly comes within 0.4 AU of Mars, and has an axial tilt of 85 degrees. This means that nearly whole hemispheres of the asteroid receive constant daylight or darkness for an entire season. The surface of Iris thus experiences extreme temperature differences. The asteroid is probably composed of nickel-iron metals and magnesium- and iron-silicates, and has a diameter of about 200 km.

Just before Christmas we received an observation of Comet Borrelly from Charles, he wrote “I went after the other “bright” evening comet, P19/Borrelly. It’s somewhere between +9.5 and +10.0 magnitude and looks like tiny, faint will-of-the-wisp at 100x in my 6-inch refractor.”

Comet 19P/Borrelly in SkySafari

Comet Borrelly or Borrelly’s Comet (officially 19P/Borrelly) is a periodic comet which was visited by the spacecraft Deep Space 1 in 2001.

The comet was discovered by Alphonse Borrelly at Marseilles, France on December 28, 1904. 

Orbital investigations have indicated the comet was placed into its discovery orbit by a series of moderate close approaches to Jupiter in 1817, 1853, and 1889. The comet experienced six close approaches to Earth and two close approaches to Jupiter (in 1936 and 1972) .

On September 21, 2001 the spacecraft Deep Space 1, which was launched to test new equipment in space, performed a flyby of Borrelly. It was steered toward the comet during the extended mission of the craft, and presented an unexpected bonus for the mission scientists. 

Deep Space 1 flew past 19P/Borrelly at a distance of only 2,170 km on September 22, 2001. Images showed the comet’s 8-km-long by 4-km-wide nucleus to be shaped like a bowling pin. As the probe approached the comet, a sharply defined jet about 60 km long was detected extending toward the sun. As the probe moved closer, this jet was resolved into three columns. At its closest, the probe revealed the jets were emanating from bright, smooth patches on the surface.

Borrelly seems to be broken into two pieces, canted at about 15°, that appear to chaff against each other, raising what look like compressional ridges at the boundary of the two sections.

Jan 29 – Moon, Mars and Venus line up at Dawn in SE

Comet A1 Leonard is getting reports of Magnitude 3.2 and 3.5


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