Grab your coats, wrap up warm and get outside this month to join in star gazing events (or just head out to your back garden) across the UK. Many science centres, planetariums and observatory centres host special star gazing events where you can learn more and watch stars in the nights sky.
During January you can expect to see the following phenomenons in the sky, if you want to be able to read the stars or spot certain planets you can visit BBC Stargazing to get a guide on how to map stars and much more! Whilst some of the following appearances may happen late into the evening and your little ones may be tucked up in bed, it’s still great fun earlier in the evening to see what you can spot.
17th January – New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 02:17 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
31st January – Full Moon, Supermoon, Blue Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 13:27 UTC. Since this is the second full moon in the same month, it is sometimes referred to as a blue moon. This is also the last of two supermoons for 2018. The Moon will be at its closest approach to the Earth and may look slightly larger and brighter than usual.
2nd March – Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 00:51 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Worm Moon because this was the time of year when the ground would begin to soften and the earthworms would reappear. This moon has also been known as the Full Crow Moon, the Full Crust Moon, the Full Sap Moon, and the Lenten Moon.
6th March – 22nd March – Mercury will be brightest and easiest to spot in the evening sky between these dates
This is a spectacular year for Mars. On 31st July at 3:50 a.m. EDT, the planet will come closer to Earth than at any other time since its historically close approach of August 2003. Its distance from Earth at that moment will be 35.78 million miles (57.59 million kilometers). Not until September 2035 will it come so close again.
Shining like a “star” with a yellow-orange hue, Mars can vary considerably in brightness. It will appear in the mornings from 1st January through to 26th July, and evenings from 27th July through to 31st December. It will appear brightest between 21st July – 3rd August.
See below for events near you.