Tonight's Night Sky: January 2024 | Visible Planets, Bright Stars, Astronomy | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Night Sky for January 2024: Planets, Stars, and the Moon

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Winter landscape with fir forest and starry sky
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What planets and stars can we see tonight?

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What can you see in the night sky this month? Venus and Saturn will meet soon! From visible planets to bright stars, astronomer Bob Berman highlights what a regular stargazer can see (without any equipment) throughout the month of January 2024. Let’s look up!

See Planet Rise and Set times for your location.

Astronomy Highlights for January 2024

January 1: The new year begins with spectacular planetary views! We welcome Venus as a morning star at a dazzling -4 magnitude—bright enough to cast shadows of its own.

Jupiter is the brightest “star” in the night sky, located in the southeast at nightfall. Meanwhile, Saturn can be seen in the lower part of the southwest sky in the constellation Aquarius. If you want to see Saturn’s gorgeous rings, break out your telescope— anything more than 30x magnification will do.

January 2:  It’s the year’s closest approach to our great star, also known as the perihelion, at 8:00 p.m. this evening. This is the point in Earth’s orbit when it’s closest to the Sun, though it’s still about 91.4 million miles away!

January 13-14: The Moon and Saturn are dance partners! The Moon floats above the Ringed Planet on the 13th and then dips below Saturn on the 14th.

January 18: The waxing Gibbous Moon and Jupiter, the King of Planets, form a close conjunction tonight.

January 27: Mars meets up with Mercury low in the morning sky. The red planet will be difficult to see in 2024, being dim, distant, and tiny during the first half of the year.

Check out the February Night Sky to see what’s coming up!

January’s Quadrantids Meteor Shower

The Quadrantids are the first major meteor shower of the year, peaking the night of Thursday, January 4, into the morning of the 5th. Fortunately, in 2024, the Moon will be a waning crescent (44% full), allowing us to see even some of the fainter meteors. Your best bet is to view after the Moon sets on the 4th of January, just before dawn. See your Moon rise and set times and the 2024 Meteor Shower Calendar for the next sighting of shooting stars!

The Quadrantid Meteors through Orion. 
Credit: Petr Horálek/NASA

January’s Full Moon

The first full Moon of 2024 reaches peak illumination on Thursday, January 25, at 12:54 P.M. EST. Look for the Moon to rise from the northeastern horizon around sunset that evening. It’s known in some cultures as the Wolf Moon. There are alternative names as well. Learn more about the Full Wolf Moon.

january wolf moon

January Constellation: Orion

All of Orion’s stars are easy to spot in the winter sky. Let’s do some old-fashioned stargazing and take a look at the Orion constellation!

orion constellation

January’s Brightest Star: Sirius

The brightest “star” of the night sky is Sirius, the Dog Star. Ready to star hop? Just look up towards Orion, the Hunter, and his bright belt. Then, follow it downward. Orion’s Belt always points to Sirius. Read more about Sirius.

See our January Star Chart for the brightest stars in this month’s sky!

About The Author

Bob Berman

Bob Berman, astronomer editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob is the world’s most widely read astronomer and has written ten popular books. Read More from Bob Berman