January 15-17, 2022: The bright evening moon appears in front of the stars of Gemini.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
At mid-month, the bright moon appears near the stars of Gemini. During the next three evenings, the moon’s eastward motion is easy to spot from night to night.
Gemini is named for the mythical twins, Castor and Pollux. The constellation’s two brightest stars have their names. The pattern looks like two side-by-side stick figures. During the early evening hours they are on their sides in the eastern sky.
Here’s what to look for:
January 15: Two hours after sunset, the bright moon – 96% illuminated – is nearly halfway up in the east at the feet of Castor. One foot can be visualized as Propus (the toes) and Tejat Posterior (the heel). So, this evening, the stars seem to be readying to kick the moon.
January 16: This evening the moon – 99% illuminated – is to the right of Castor and Pollux, 7.7° to the lower right of the former and 7.4° to the upper right of the latter.
January 17: The moon reaches its Full phase at 5:48 p.m. CST. The moon has moved into Cancer this evening, 6.2° below Pollux.
After another evening in front of Cancer’s dim stars, the lunar orb moves in front of Leo.
- 2023, December 31: Hello, Mercury! Stars’ Evening AppearancesDecember 31, 2023: Hello, Mercury! The planet makes its first appearance in the morning sky. Several bright stars are appearing in the eastern sky after sundown.
- 2023, December 30: Sirius, Dog Star, South Near Midnight, Morning StarDecember 30, 2023: Sirius, the Dog Star, is south near the midnight hour at year’s end. Morning Star Venus gleams before sunrise.
- 2023, December 29: Venus Approaches Graffias, Morning December MoonDecember 29, 2023: Before sunrise, in the southeast, Venus approaches Graffias. The December morning moon is in the western sky.
- 2023, December 28: Gemini Moon, Morning Star, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 28, 2023: The bright moon is near Pollux, one of the Gemini Twins. Venus is in the southeast before sunrise. Jupiter and Saturn shine during the evening hours.
- 2023, December 27: Morning Cold Moon, Morning Star, Jupiter, SaturnDecember 27, 2023: The Cold Moon is in the western sky before sunrise. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are visible during nighttime hours.