Tour January’s Sky! | December 31st, 2009

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S&T: Lauren Darby
For months giant Jupiter has dominated the evening sky. But now the king of planets is slip-sliding away in the west — catch it during January before it exits stage west.

Meanwhile, Mars is starting to ascend in the east after sunset. The Red Planet reaches opposition, the point in the sky opposite the Sun, on January 27th. This year's approach of Mars to Earth isn't one of its closest, but the Red Planet is still a satisfyingly bright ginger-ale-colored beacon in the sky.

There are plenty of other winter sparklers in view as well: Betelgeuse and Rigel in Orion, Aldebaran and the Pleiades in Taurus, and Sirius and Procyon marking the Hunter's dogs.

You can learn to spot all of these, and more, by downloading January's audio sky tour. It's an 6-megabyte MP3 file that runs 6½ minutes long.

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