STATES CHRONICLE – After having a year full of astronomical surprises, 2016 looks just as promising as astronomers revealed to us what January skies will look like.
Although many of us hope for an aurora borealis to show up on New Year’s night, the phenomenon is not 100% sure to happen. However, when heading home after the party in early morning, you should look up to the sky to see clearly five of our solar system’s planets.
You might wonder how you could possibly see planets without a telescope but these five planets are visible to the ‘naked-eye’ just like stars. In ancient times, they were actually believed to be stars, but in time astronomers realized that they were actually moving and therefore, were something more than stars.
One of the visible planets is Mercury, which is the closest to our sun and will appear on the sky twice, the first time on the first day of the year. Astronomers estimate that we could start seeing the shiny planet after sunset at 10 degrees above the place where the sun sets.
In January we can also see Jupiter in late evening or midnight when its light becomes clearer. Mars can also be observed on the east at 1:30 a.m. in the first day of the month. Also, before the sun rises on January 1, Venus and Saturn will also shine on the eastern sky.
Of course, to have a better view of the planets, it is recommended you use at least some binoculars.
There’s also going to be a meteor shower in the first month of 2016 in which you could see up to 120 meteors per hour. The shower can be observed before dawn on January 4. Also, this is the month when our planet gets closest to the sun, at 91.4 million miles, whereas the farthest distance is 95 million miles in July.
All in all, I’d say the skies are going to keep us busy and excited for next year as well, especially in January, which seems to be quite rich in cosmic displays. Hopefully, we’ll have our skies clear enough to enjoy the view.
Image source: www.bing.com