Society News and Night Sky Notes – January 1998

Clear & Dark Skies for 1998 from all at Liverpool A.S.

Society News Headlines

  • Jan 1st – Mars 4° South of Moon.
  • Jan 1st – Jupiter 2.5° South of Moon.
  • Jan 1st – Public Open Night at the LAS Pex Hill Observatory. 7 – 9pm.
  • Jan 3rd – Earth at Perihelion (0.983 AU from Sun.
  • Jan 3rd – Mir crew regain control of the station after the motion control computer failed again. Crew reported to be in no danger.
  • Jan 3rd – Quadrantids Meteor Shower Max.
  • Jan 5th – Planned Lunar Prospector Launch. LAUNCH DELAYED 24hrs
  • Jan 6th – Meeting of American Astronomical Society (AAS) opens in Washington D.C.(Ends Jan 11th.)
  • Jan 6th – Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation (23°:).Table Here (link removed as URL is invalid).
  • Jan 7th – Lunar Prospector Spacecraft launched successfully at 02:28:43 GMT to-day. Should reach the Moon by the weekend.
  • Jan 7th – Lunar spacecraft carries ashes and special tribute to planetary geologist Eugene Shoemaker
  • Jan 7th – Main results from Winter AAS meeting.
  • Jan 7th – Old faithful is black hole.
  • Jan 7th – X-Rays reveal gigantic star.
  • Jan 7th – Comet Heujimin at Perihelion.
  • Jan 7th – Huge galaxy may steal clusters of stars from nearby galaxies. Click Here for image.
  • Jan 7th – Two observatories belonging to Patrick Moore are badly damaged by freak tornado, which hit Selsey, West Sussex.
  • Jan 7th – HST images of spectacular auorae on Jupiter and Saturn.
  • Jan 7th – HST team provides new data on possible fate of Universe.
  • Jan 7th – COBE spacecraft reveals background infrared glow to Universe.
  • Jan 7th – The black hole at the centre of the Milky Way.
  • Jan 7th _ Another black hole found to eject mass equal to an asteroid.
  • Jan 7th – Star birth pains can now be revealed. Click Here.
  • Jan 7th _ Astronomers find the most massive star yet discovered. Click Here for image.
  • Jan 7th _ Structure of tiny stars can now be confirmed.
  • Jan 7th – Astronomers find hot ionized gas swirling around centre of a galaxy. Click Here for image. (link removed as URL is invalid)
  • Jan 8th – Venus 4° North of Neptune.
  • Jan 8th – The Ultimate fate of the Universe.
    Image Here. (link removed as URL is invalid)
  • Jan 9th – Cosmonauts fix air leaks on space station Mir.
  • Jan 9th – New Understanding of solar wind and its causes.
  • Jan 9th _ Finder information for Comet Tempel-Tuttle.
  • Jan 9th – Stardust spacecraft up-date.
  • Jan 11th – BBC 1 Sky at Night with Patrick Moore. Subject TBC. Rept Sat Jan 17th.
  • Jan 12th – Large structures of galaxies in the young universe. Click Here.
  • Jan 13th – New Yorkers buy telescopes to spy on each other and not the night sky.
  • Jan 13th – Privately funded Lunar Sample Return Mission is planned. Click Here.
  • Jan 14th – Help design the logo for the December 1998 Mars Surveyor Mission. Click Here.
  • Jan 15th – Planned Launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on mission STS-89. 8th Shuttle/Mir docking.
  • Jan 15th – Aged 77 John Glenn is to fly in space again, aboard the space shuttle. Almost 36 years since his last flight in 1962.
  • Jan 15th – Life signs in martian meteorite are from Earth, say USA scientists.
  • Jan 15th – Astrophotographer David Malin from AAO will be in Liverpool for special Lecture. Details Here. (link removed as URL is invalid)
  • Jan 15th – Geologist locate the Gold Basin Meterorite, which fell to Earth in Arizona at the end of the last ice age.
  • Jan 16th – Special General Meeting of Liverpool Astronomical Society. Followed by:-
  • Jan 16th – USA elementary school teacher, Barbara Morgan, has been selected to train as a mission specialist astronaut for the space shuttle.
  • Jan 16th – LAS monthly meeting at NMGM-Liverpool Museum Lecture Room. 7 – 9pm.
  • Jan 17th – Southern Area Group of Astronomical Societies (SAGAS) quarterly meeting – Chichester, West Sussex.
  • Jan 17th – Comet 55p/Tempel-Tuttle near Earth fly-by.(0.357 AU).
  • Jan 19th – Is a Colorado bolide a fragmant of Hale-Bopp?.
  • Jan 20th – NEAR spacecraft on final approach to Eros after swingby of Earth. Click Here.
  • Jan 20th – Cosmic threat to civilization – Ben Peiser Liverpool John Moores University.
  • Jan 20th – A new atomic clock is to be placed on the New Spacestation ISS.
  • Jan 20th – The MMT is to be converted to a bigger 6.5 meter single mirror. First light of new telescope is later this year.
  • Jan 20th – A nest of massive supernovae found in “Starburst Galaxy”.
  • Jan 21st – Pulsars wind up and down.
  • Jan 21st – Jupiter 11′ South of Mars. (Very Close Conjunction).
  • Jan 22nd – NEAR spacecraft flyby of Earth seen LIVE HERE.
  • Jan 22nd – New launch date for Shuttle mission STS-89. See above.
  • Jan 22nd – The RGO Library may come to Liverpool and be based at the JMU Astrophysics Group.
  • Jan 22nd – Wobbly planet means new rethink on long term study of sea-level variations.
  • Jan 22nd – Astronomers map the large-scale structure of the ancient Universe using Quasars.
  • Jan 23rd – Launch of STS-89 successful at 02:55am GMT to-day. First shuttle mission of 1998.
  • Jan 23rd – LAS members Evening at the Pex Hill Observatory. 7 – 9pm.
  • Jan 24th – Details of Japans spaceflight activites budget.
  • Jan 25th – Venus at Perihelion.
  • Jan 26th – Venus 2.5° South of Mercury.
  • Jan 26th – Fast-spinning Pulsar discovery provides evolutionary link.
  • Jan 26th – Bell Aerospace to build ICESAT for NASA to be launched in July 2001.
  • Jan 26th – NEAR spacecraft images of the Earth and Moon now available.
  • Jan 26th – Astronomers find new type of solar activity.Click Here.
  • Jan 27th – Venus 3.5° North of Moon.
  • Jan 27th – New Satellite images of El Nino in Earth’s atmosphere,which could cause problems for Southern Hemisphere astronomers.
  • Jan 27th – Dr Steven V.W.Beckwith becomes new director of Space Telescope Science Institute.
  • Jan 28th – Four new GOES weather satellites to be placed in Earth orbit starting in Oct 2001.
  • Jan 28th – Comet P/1997 C1 (Gehrels) Perihelion (3.564 AU).
  • Jan 29th – 16 Nations to approve the International Space Station, due to be completed by 2003.
  • Jan 29th – Astronomers have discovered a planet or brown dwarf star in orbit around Proxima Centauri.
  • Jan 30th – Mars 1.5° South of Moon.
  • Jan 30th – Photos of Mars Surveyor’98 Orbiter. available.
  • Jan 30th – Three spacecraft seen together in the night-sky over parts of USA.
  • Jan 30th – New ESO Infrared Instrument gets first light.
  • Jan 30th – Team observes rare triple shadow transits on Jupiter.
  • Jan 31st – A novel Dutch solar telescope is in operation.
  • Jan 31st – Soyuz TM-27 docks with spacestation Mir.
  • Jan 30th – AstroFest begins to-day.(Ends January 31st.)
  • Jan 31st – 40th Anniversary of USA first artificial satellite – Explorer 1.



Will it be cloudy to-night?, ask the The U.K. Goverment Met Office Weather service.
To make your own star chart fo your location at any time, Click Here.

The Sun and Moon

All times are in GMT the same as U.T. Times For Observer in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, U.K.

Latitude 53 degs 24 mins North.
Longitude +3.0 degs West.

            1st       6th       11th      16th      21st      26th       31st
SUNRISE    08:27     08:26     08:23     08:19     08:13     08:06      07:59
SUNSET     16:04     16:10     16:17     16:25     16:34     16:44      16:53
on 28th
at 06h:01m
on 5th
at 14h:19m
on 12th
at 17h:24m
on 20th
at 19h:41m

On the 4th the Earth is at Perihelion – the closest distance to the Sun in 1998. It is at a distance of 0.9832 (AU Astronomical Units).



Mercury is visible as a morning object but will rapidly head back towards the Sun. This Table gives more details. (link removed as URL is invalid)


Venus is confusingly visible both as an evening object and a morning object this month, though obviously not at the same time!. For the first half of the month Venus finishes off its evening appartion which began last year. It will be found in the South West shortly after Sunset. Rapidly passing inferior conjunction on the 16th it starts a morning apparition soon after whilst travelling through the constellation of Sagittarius. Look South East (azimuth 128°) at 06:40 0n the 27th to find the Moon lying 4° to the South.


Mars sets at 19h:00m by the end of the month and is only 23° away from the Sun in the constellation of Capricornus. On the 21st, at 05h:00m, Mars is 11′ South of Jupiter but as this very close conjunction occurs below the horizon as seem from Liverpool, try and observe the evnings of the 20th and 21st to see how the two planets have changed their relative positions in a short space of time.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


Ceres at mag 9.2 can be found in Aquarius and Vesta at mag 7.8 in Cetusduring the month.

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter is heading towards Solar conjunction next month, rapidly descends into the evening twilight, passing 2.5° of the Moon on the 1st and 1.5° South of the Moon on the 29th.

Launched in October 1989, the Galileo Jupiter Probe entered orbit around the great planet on December 7th 1995. The Project Galileo Homepage will give you up-to-date information and the very latest images returned.


Saturn is higher in the sky than both Jupiter and Mars and lies due South at 18h:30m at the start of the month. On the 5th the Moon passes 1° to the North.


Both outer planets are at Solar conjunction this month, and are unfavorable for observations at this time.


Was in conjunction with the Sun on November 27th and will be out of view until the end of March.


QUADRANTIDS 80 per Hour ZHR – max on the 4th (Favorable).





  • Jan 10th at 17h:53m Disappearance of 130 Tauri.
  • Jan 11th at 17h:39m Disappearance of 26 Geminorum.