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.
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