Astro Bob's Backyard Astronomy: Get Your Binoculars Ready
If the skies stay clear, Bob King has some suggestions for you; just don't forget your binoculars.
As of late, about 45 minutes after sunset the southwestern sky has offered a view of the planet Venus. On January 22nd, Venus welcomes a friend. "The planet Saturn and Venus will have a very close conjunction," says King. "Bring binoculars and you can't miss that conjunction." A very young crescent moon will also crash the party on that date.
Also worth looking out for is a comet. "It will be a nice comet," says King. "It might be the brightest comet of 2023. It'll look like a little blob in a pair of binoculars." Some folks who live further from city lights might be able to see the comet without magnification. Sightings of the comet (which is called "ZTF") will begin as soon as January 16th and extend into early February.
And finally, the sun could be sending some spectacle in our direction. "The sun's, like, hyperactive," says King. "It's like a teenager with acne right now." Sunspots are kicking out flares that may very well cause aurora borealis. "In the next week and a half of so, there's good potential for a Northern Lights display."
Grab your binoculars, cross your fingers, and keep your eyes on the skies.