Bruce McClure
Moon and planets at dusk.

Don’t miss young moon and Venus after sunset (Neptune’s there, too)

After sunset on January 26, 27 and 28, 2020, watch for the young moon and planet Venus in the west at dusk and nightfall. Use the lit side of the moon to locate Mercury, the innermost planet. If you have a telescope, use Venus to locate the Neptune, the farthest planet.

Sirius, future South Pole Star

The Southern Hemisphere doesn’t have a pole star now. But – nearly 60 thousand years from now – the sky’s brightest star, Sirius aka the Dog Star, will serve as a southern pole star.

How many supermoons in 2020?

We’ll enjoy a “season” of 3 full moon supermoons on March 9, April 8 and May 7, 2020. Then we’ll have a “season” of 3 new moon supermoons on September 17, October 16 and November 15, 2020. Supermoon-o-mania, here.

Moon, Jupiter Mars and Antares before sunrise.

Will you spot the moon and Jupiter?

The lighted portion of the waning crescent moon will point toward Jupiter on the mornings January 21 and 22, 2020. Look east! You’ll enjoy spotting Jupiter so near the sunrise.

A telescopic view of the moon's cratered limb, with the red disk of Mars disappearing behind it.

Heads up! Lunar occultation of Mars February 18

Thinking of beefing up your stargazing optics? Now would be a good time. Given clear skies, all of the U.S. (except Alaska and Hawaii) can watch the red planet Mars disappear behind the moon – or reappear, or both – about a month from now, on the morning of February 18, 2020.

Moon, Mars and Antares before dawn.

See moon, Mars, Antares – and maybe Jupiter – before sunrise

Use the moon to find red Mars and red Antares before dawn on January 19, 20 and 21, 2020. Then, after Mars and Antares have faded from view, but before the sun comes up, try to catch the king planet Jupiter near the sunrise horizon.

Moon and Spica from late night to dawn

Use the moon to guide your eye to Spica before daybreak on January 17, 2020, and look forward to this star’s all-night appearance in April.

Sunrise (or sunset) along the rim of Earth.

Tonight is New Year’s Eve in the Julian calendar

Happy Julian New Year! January 13, 2020, marks the last day of the year in the old-style Julian calendar. Why, and what happened when the calendars switched.

Bright moon shines in front of the constellation Leo the Lion.

Moon and Regulus rise mid-evening on January 12 and 13

These next few nights – January 12 and 13, 2020 – use the moon to find Regulus, the Heart of the Lion in the constellation Leo. After the moon drops out of the evening sky, use the Big Dipper to star-hop to Regulus and Leo.

Daytime moon.

See a daytime moon after sunrise

Look west after sunrise for the daytime moon. You’ll find it in a blue sky. Watch for the moon in the next few mornings. It’ll be higher in the west after each successive sunrise.