Current Night Sky: January 2019

Earth reaches perihelion – its closest distance to the Sun – at midnight EST on January 3, when the two bodies will be separated by 91.4 million miles (147.1 million km).

There is a partial solar eclipse on January 5-6, visible from parts of eastern Asia and the western Pacific.

There is a total lunar eclipse on January 20-21, visible in its entirety from the Western Hemisphere.

The Moon & Planets: 
Earth orbit
Quadrantid meteor chart
Moon and Venus
Evening Planets (after sunset): 
  • Neptune, SW
  • Mars, SW
  • Uranus, SW
Morning Planets (before sunrise): 
  • Venus, SE
  • Jupiter, SE
  • Saturn, SE
  • Mercury, SE

Comet 46P Wirtanen should remain above the threshold of naked eye visibility until mid-January. It is circumpolar for observers at mid-northern latitudes. The Moon may swamp the comet's faint glow during the second half of the month.


The Quadrantid meteors peak on January 3. The narrow crescent Moon doesn't rise until almost sunrise, so the shower should be a good one; expect to see up to 60 – 200 meteors per hour under ideal conditions.

Phases of the Moon: 
New Moon January 5 8:28 pm EST
First Quarter Moon January 14 1:46 am EST
Full Moon January 21 12:16 am EST
Last Quarter Moon January 27 4:10 pm EST

Text, graphics, and animations by John Sheff. Graphics courtesy of Starry Night(©) Pro Plus 7 / Imaginova(©) Corp. Starry Night images are used with permission from Imaginova Corp. Starry Night is a registered trademark of Imaginova Corp. Star charts generated by Starry Night Pro Plus 7 © Imaginova Corp. All rights reserved.