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See a dawn triple conjunction and a lunar occultation on 31 January

22 Jan 2019, 16:03 UTC
See a dawn triple conjunction and a lunar occultation on 31 January
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Skywatchers in the British Isles and Western Europe should look low to the south-southeast an hour before sunrise on the last morning of January to see a beautiful conjunction of Venus, the old crescent Moon and Jupiter, all within a span of 8½ degrees in the constellation of Ophiuchus. If you own a telescope, can you also see fourth-magnitude star Xi Ophiuchi emerge from lunar occultation? Details below. Note that the Moon’s size is enlarged for clarity in this illustration. AN graphic by Ade Ashford.One could easily be forgiven for thinking that all the skywatching activity this month has been confined to the morning sky, but it’s far from over yet. January concludes with a glorious dawn triple conjunction of the brightest planet Venus, the 25-day-old waning crescent Moon and largest planet Jupiter.
Observers in the UK looking to the south-southeast around 7am GMT on 31 January will see (weather permitting) the old crescent Moon nestled between Venus and Jupiter, but this is merely a line of sight effect: the Moon is the closest of the three at just 396,770 kilometres distant. Next, it’s dazzling Venus – 129.2 million kilometres from Earth. But Jupiter is a staggering 878 million kilometres ...

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