Stargazing for January 2020

Shooting Stars, Full Moon, and Earth's Orbit

By Catherine Boeckmann
December 20, 2019
Moon and Girl

Are you a stargazer? Here are a few fun sights and facts about January’s night sky.

Spot the Quadrantid Meteors

One of the most active meteor showers of the year happens this month! In the very early morning hours (between midnight and 4 AM) on Saturday, January 4, look for the Quadrantid meteors to spark in the night sky. They will be low in the sky to the north, below the Big Dipper. If you spot one, remember to make a wish!

Howl at the Full Wolf Moon

In January 2020, the full Moon arrives on Friday, January 10. This full Moon, which is the first full Moon of the year AND of the decade, was traditionally called the Full Wolf Moon, since wolves were known to howl more often at this time of year. Read more about the Full Wolf Moon!

Earth Flies Close to the Sun

Did you know that Earth’s orbit around the Sun is not a perfect circle? In fact, we revolve around the Sun in an oval shape, which means that at certain times of the year, Earth is closer or farther from the Sun. 

Every January, about two weeks after the winter solstice, Earth reaches the point in its orbit where it is nearest to the Sun. This point is called perihelion. The opposite point, where Earth is farthest from the Sun, occurs in early July and is known as aphelion.

This year, Earth will be at perihelion on Sunday, January 5, when we will be only 91,398,199 miles away from the Sun!