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Eye on the Night Sky

Eye on the Night Sky

January 24, 2021

Nightly Events

  • January 24:

    Mercury reaches its greatest eastern elongation this evening, which means its greatest separation from the Sun. The closest planet to the Sun emerges low in the southwest twilight at 5:18, just as the International Space Station climbs up to its right, and crosses high through the northern skies. Mercury enjoys its best views from 5:30 to 5:50 PM.

  • January 25:

    The Moon gleams above the "Winter Diamond", the four bright stars that mark Orion and his dogs. The top of the Diamond is Betelgeuse, Orion's shoulder, and to the right, Rigel, Orion's foot. The brightest star, at the bottom of the diamond is Sirius, part of the Great Dog, and finally on the left, Procyon, the Little Dog.

  • January 26:

    Mercury continues one of its better views for 2021, lingering in the twilight for those with a low, level view of the west-southwest horizon from its emergence near 5:25, about two handwidths above the horizon, through the next half hour as it settles lower. Mercury fades in early February, but returns to the evenings in May.