Comet, Meteor Shower, The Moon and Mars -- Here's What to Expect in the January Sky
Stargazers are in for a treat on the start of 2017! This January, a meteor shower, Mars, the moon and even a comet passing by will light up the sky.
On Jan. 3 and Jan 4, the Quadrantids will shoot an average of 40 meteors per hour. What's interesting about Quadrantids is that the shower is believed to be emanating from a now extinct comet called 2003 EH1. NASA says the shower also originate from a demoted constellation called Quadrans Muralis.
The meteor shower occurs when Earth passes by the dust grains and remnants from comets. Quadrantids is an annual meteor shower that usually occurs on Jan. 1 to Jan. 5, according to an Astronomy Calendar.
Meanwhile, the crescent moon will be accompanied not by a bright star but a planet as everyone ushers in the new year. On Jan. 2, Venus can be spotted near the moon. The moon will continue to move eastward in the coming days, according to a report.
But Mars won't let Venus steal the show as the three was evident in the sky during the New Year celebration. The trio will be visible until Jan. 3. However, the phenomenon called "Venus High" will make it easier to spot compared to Mars.
"Venus shines at its brightest for many years," Jane Houston Jones from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement. "Through a telescope, you'll the disc 56 percent lit on January 1st, half lit on the 14th, decreasing to 40 percent by month's end," Jones added.
Aside from that, there are two other celestial bodies that can be seen on Earth using a telescope. Comet 45P that is passing near the planet, will be visible after sunset in the beginning of January. It can even be spotted even just by using binoculars. By the month's end it will be visible just before sunrise, NASA said.
While the brightest asteroid Vesta, will also show its might this month. Stargazers who would want to see Vesta in its full glory, the brightest will be on Jan. 17. It looks like the celestial bodies are welcoming the year 2017 with an interesting array of sky shows that will hopefully last until the end of the year.