Tour January’s Sky! | December 30th, 2011

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S&T: Lauren Darby
Make a New Year's resolution to get out under the beautiful winter night sky more often! You can get started by by downloading January's audio sky tour. It's a 3-megabyte MP3 file that's 7½ minutes long. Here are some highlights

The month starts off with a bang, celestially speaking, as the annual Quadrantid meteor shower peaks on the morning of January 4th. This year's edition favors North America, but to see these "shooting stars" you'll need to be up well past midnight — or get up a couple of hours before dawn.

The early evening sky is anchored by dazzling Venus low in the west and very bright Jupiter high in the southeast. These are the two brightest planets, and it's a visual treat to have them both in the sky at once.

The podcast also spends some quality time with Cassiopeia, queen of the northern sky. Nearly overhead right now, this constellation looks more like a squashed "M" than a feminine figure. But its five bright stars are still easily recognized.

Enjoy January's night skies — but don't forget to dress very warmly with extra layers!