2022, January 19-22: Moon with Leo

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2022, January 19-22:  The bright moon appears near the stars of Leo.

Chart Caption – 2202, January 19 – 22: The moon appears near the stars of Leo before sunrise.

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by Jeffrey L. Hunt

The bright moon appears near the stars of Leo during the predawn hours of January 19 through January 22.

With the earlier sunsets, the moon rises later during the evening in the eastern sky.  During the night it seems to move farther west, crossing the south mark after midnight, and appears in the west-southwest before sunrise.

Look to the western sky about an hour before sunrise.  Here’s what’s visible:

January 19: Less than two days after the New phase, the bright moon – 98% illuminated – is nearly 25° above the western horizon.  This morning the lunar orb is technically in Cancer, which has very dim stars.  The moon is to the lower right of the backwards question mark that makes the head of the celestial Lion.

January 20:  This morning the moon is 94% illuminated and near the backwards question mark.  Because the moon’s size is exaggerated on the accompanying chart, it seems to cover Eta Leonis.  Through a binocular find the star 0.6° to the upper right of the moon.  The lunar globe is 4.2° to the upper right of Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation.

January 21: The moon, over 40° up in the west-southwest and 88% illuminated, is nearly midway from Regulus to the Lion’s tail, Denebola, but below a line that connects the two stars.

January 22: The gibbous moon is near Denebola this morning.  It is 80% illuminated and 8.7° to the lower left of the star.  The moon has moved into Virgo.

During the next several mornings the moon moves closer to Venus that is shining very low in the east-southeast at this hour.

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