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This Month's Moon Phases
Here are the phases of the Moon for January.
The sky charts presented here show a field of view of 90 degrees — that is, an area on the sky that goes from the horizon up to the top of the sky (also called the zenith).
- Sky Chart: January 4, 2020
- Sky Chart: January 20, 2020
- Sky Chart: January 28, 2020
- Moon Phases: January 2020
On the morning of Wednesday if you have a clear view of the horizon in the east-southeast, you may be able to see the bright planet Jupiter appearing about 8 degrees to the lower left of the thin, waning, crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC area, Jupiter will rise at 6:09 a.m. and morning twilight will begin 12 minutes later at around 6:21 a.m. EST. The pair will appear even closer the next morning, but will be harder to see, with the Moon rising after morning twilight has already begun.
Friday afternoon at 4:42 p.m. EST, will be the new Moon, when the Moon passes between Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth.
The day of or the day after the New Moon marks the start of the new month for many lunisolar calendars. The first month of the Chinese calendar starts on January 24 (at midnight in China's time zone, which is 13 hours ahead of EST), so this new Moon corresponds with the Chinese New Year. The traditional celebrations start on the evening before and continue until the Lantern Festival (corresponding to the full Moon after next).
In the Islamic calendar the months start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon after the New Moon. Based on the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia, sunset on Saturday evening will probably mark the beginning of Jumada al-Thani, also known as Jumada al-Akhirah. For the Americas, we will probably not be able to observe the crescent Moon until after sundown on January 26, so when the month starts may depend upon which tradition you follow. Sundown on Sunday, January 26, 2020, will mark the start of Shevat in the Hebrew calendar.
On Tuesday evening, the bright planet Venus will appear in the southwest to the lower right of the waxing crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC area, evening twilight will end at around 6:25 p.m. and Venus will set in the west-southwest at 8:41 p.m. EST.
Wednesday afternoon at 4:28 p.m. EST, the Moon will be at apogee, its farthest from Earth for this orbit.
For the Washington, DC area (and similar latitudes at least), Wednesday evening, will be the first evening when the planet Mercury will appear just above the horizon in the west-southwest at the time evening twilight ends.
Sometime around the end of January, 2020 (2020-Jan-30 08:13 UTC with 9 days, 13 hours, 36 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2018 AL12), between 29 and 65 meters (96 to 214 feet) in size, will pass Earth at between 2.9 and 80.6 lunar distances (nominally 18.1), traveling at 17.65 kilometers per second (39,490 miles per hour).
On Saturday evening, the Moon will appear half-full as it reaches its first quarter at 8:42 p.m. EST.
Sometime around early February, 2020 (2020-Feb-02 15:50 UTC with 5 days, 2 hours, 41 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2018 BU1), between 31 and 68 meters (100 to 224 feet) in size, will pass Earth at between 6.8 and 31.8 lunar distances (nominally 19.3), traveling at 10.01 kilometers per second (22,380 miles per hour).
Wednesday evening into early Thursday morning, February 3 to 4, 2020, the bright star Aldebaran will appear below the waxing gibbous Moon. For the Washington, DC area, evening twilight will end Wednesday evening at about 6:31 p.m., the Moon will reach its highest in the sky for the night at 7:36 p.m., and Aldebaran will set in the west-northwest Thursday morning at 2:47 a.m. EST.
For the Washington, DC area (and similar latitudes at least), Thursday morning, February 4, 2020, will be the first morning when the planet Saturn will appear just above the horizon in the east-southeast at the time morning twilight begins.
The full Moon after next will be Sunday morning at 2:33 a.m. EST.