Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

January Star Chart

By David Reneke

Your guide to the night skies this month.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Summer in Australia is great for sky gazers. We have some of the best skies in the world full of bright stars, prominent constellations and fascinating celestial sights. Lots of budding astronomers get their start in January, using telescopes they got for a Christmas present.

Maybe you’re one of them and need a target at which to point it, or perhaps you just want something to do on a warm, clear summer night. Here’s a great suggestion, what about checking out the night sky? Really! Now is a great time to step outside and learn something about our Solar System and the Universe around you.

“Stargazing need not be complicated,” said internationally recognised Australian astronomer Dave Reneke. “If you can find the Moon, you're on your way to becoming a backyard astronomer” David is an astronomy lecturer, teacher, author, broadcaster and a feature writer for major Australian newspapers and Australasian Science magazine.

Nothing in the night sky is easier to study than the Moon. With no equipment, you can make out the ‘face’ and see subtle colour differences on the surface. Binoculars or a small telescope will reveal stunning views of craters, especially on nights when the Moon is not full. Many of these craters formed more than 4 billion years ago when asteroids and comet impacts were more common. Study the region where light and dark meet and shadows...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Star Chart by Dr David Anderson courtesy of Sydney Observatory