What's Up for January 2020? Meteor shower, Earth will reach its closest point to the Sun, Full Wolf Moon Eclipse, Mars meets its "rival," Antares, the Moon pairs up with some of the brightest stars of the night sky and comes around for another visit with Venus. The early morning of Jan. 4th brings the peak of the Quadrantid meteor shower. This annual shower can be one of the better ones of the year, although it has a much shorter peak than most other meteor showers — just a few hours versus a day or two. On January 5, Earth will Reach Its Closest Point to the Sun. Astronomers call this celebrated point in Earth’s elliptical orbit around the Sun perihelion from the Greek roots peri meaning near and Helios meaning Sun. Earth is roughly 3 million miles (5 million km) closer to the Sun in early January than it is in early July. On Jan. 7, the bright star appearing near the waxing gibbous Moon will be Aldebaran. Full Wolf Moon Eclipse On January 10-11, 2020 – watch for the full-looking Moon to light up the nighttime from dusk until dawn. Keen observers in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa may see the Moon turn a shade darker during the maximum phase of this penumbral lunar eclipse. Most penumbral lunar eclipses cannot be easily distinguished from a usual Full Moon. Mars rises before dawn during January with its "rival," the red giant star Antares. The name of this star translates as "rival to Mars" in ancient Greek, and the star rivals the Red Planet's appearance to the unaided eye, both in color and brightness. In reality, Antares is way, way bigger than Mars. In fact, it's much bigger than the orbit of Mars. You can view the pair low in the southeast, about an hour before sunrise each morning. Near the beginning of January, Mars appears above Antares. As the days progress, the planet moves lower and to the east of Antares. They're joined by a slim lunar crescent on January 20th for what should be a very pretty grouping. In the evening of January 12, look at the east to see the brilliant waning gibbous moon pairing up with Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion. On January 17th, the Moon pairs up with Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. Closing out the month, the crescent Moon and Venus once again make for a gorgeous sight at the end of January, on the same day of the month as they did back in December. On January 28th, you'll find the pair hovering in the southwest in the hour or so after sunset that evening, so be sure to go out and take a look. Clear skies Everyone!