Society News and Night Sky Notes – January 2000

Society News Headlines

  • Jan 1st – Only 1 more year until the TRUE start of the next millennium.
  • Jan 3rd – Moon 3° North of Venus.
  • Jan 3rd – Earth at Perihelion at 06hr:00m (0.983320AU).
  • Jan 4th – Max for Quadrantids meteor shower (ZHR 80 per hour).
  • Jan 5th – 95th Anniversary (1905) of Perriine’s discovery of Saturn’s Moon Elara
  • Jan 6th – Moon 4° North of Mercury.
  • Jan 7th – Public Open Night at The Pex Hill Observatory 7:30pm – 9:30pm.
  • Jan 7th – 390th Anniversary (1610) of Galileo’s discovery of 3 of Jupiter’s Moons.
  • Jan 10th – Moon 2° South of Mars.
  • Jan 12th – Royal Astronomical Society’s 180th Birthday! (1820 – 2000).
  • Jan 14th – LAS Sidewalk Astronomers – Leasowe Lighthouse, Wirral 7:30 – 9:30pm
  • Jan 14th – Moon 4° South of Jupiter.
  • Jan 15th – Moon 3° South of Saturn.
  • Jan 16th – Mercury at Superior Conjunction.
  • Jan 20th – Buzz Aldrins’s 70th birthday (b1930). 2nd Man to walk on the Moon.
  • Jan 21st – LAS January Monthly meeting at 7pm in the Crypt of the RC catheral.
  • Jan 21st – Total Lunar Eclipse, max form Liverpool at 04hrs:44mins:30secs.
  • Jan 21st – Total Lunar Eclipse – Details for Liverpool.
  • Jan 26th – BAA Ordinary Monthly Meeting – 5:45pm London.
  • Jan 27th – Pallas at opposition.


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    08:28        08:26      08:24     08:19     08:14     08:07       08:00
SUNSET     16:03        16:09      16:16     16:24     16:33     16:44       16:52
on 6th
at 20h:20m
on 14th
at 13h:54m
on 21st
at 14h:56m
on 28th
at 00h:03m

Total Lunar Eclipse on 2000 January 21st.

Details Here.
Details for Liverpool.

To herald in the new year and century, the Earth is at perihelion on the 3rd at a diatance of 0.983320 Astronomical Units (1 Astronomical Unit is equivalent to 149.6 million Kilometers). Perihelion is the closest any body approaches the Sun. Its opposite is aphelion, when a body is furthest from the Sun in its orbit. The following day the Moon reaches its furthest point from the Earth – its apogee – in 2000. It lies at a distance of 406,418 kilometers.



Mercury is at superior conjunction on the 16th but by the end of the month starts to make an appearance in the evening sky. It won’t be until early February though when the planet becomes favourable.


Venus finishes off the excellent morning apparition which began back in August last year. It very quickly heads towards the rising Sun through the next couple of months with the Moon passing 2° North on January 3rd at 05hr:00m. Owners of telescopes and binoculars may like to have a look on the 4th as Venus appears to have acquired a satellite. It is in fact the brightish star nu Scorpii which Venus passes just 25 arcminutes North of in the early hours of the morning.


Mars was at opposition in 1999 and as its year is roughly twice the length of the Earth’s it means that 2000 sees the red planet heading towards solar conjunction around the middle of the year. Before it gets too small and hard to observe watch it as it tracks through the faint constellation of Aquarius this month with the Moon passing 2.5° South on the 10th. Again, telescope owners may like to investigate closely using a high magnification and observe that the planet isn’t a complete disk. In fact it shows a distinct phase of 93% at the start of the month increasing to 95% at the end due to us seeing the planet slightly sideways on. All the outer planets show a phase to some extent but it is only in Mars where this is noticeable even to the most casual of observers.

MARSWATCH – latest observations of the red planet.


  • Pallas at opposition on January 27th at V Mag of 7.4
  • Melpomene at opposition on January 18th at V Mag of 9.2

For More information on Asteroids Click Here.


Jupiter, is also heading towards solar conjunction in May and so is purely an evening object by the time January comes to an end. On the 14th Jupiter id 3° North of the Moon and on the 30th lies just half a degree North of the star Omicron Piscium

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 just ahead of Jupiter as the two gas giants pass through the constellation of Pisces. Later this year the two will meet up with Jupiter “racing” past Saturn. Saturn’s rings system is tilted at an angle of 19° so that the planet’s Southern hemisphere is on view. With the planet’s orbital plane so inclined any satellites on view will be also similarly tilted with the effect thatthey could appear to lie above and/or below the disk of the planet itself.


Both Uranus and Neptune are at or near solar conjunction and are unfavorable for observations until June.


Pluto will be out of view until after April in morning skies.


  • January 4th Quadrantids ZHR is 80 per hour. ( Fairly favourable)


  • January 2nd – Comet Temel 1 at perihelion (1.500AU).
  • January 11th – Comet Wiseman – Skiff at Perihelion (1.569AU).
  • January 17th – Comet C/1999 k8 (Linear) at Perihelion (4.845AU).

Plus these pages will give daily and weekly reports of this and other Comets progress.


  • Jan 11th at 18hr:14m Disappearance of psi Aquarii 1
  • Jan 11th at 18hr:43m Disappearance of psi Aquarii 2.
  • Jan 15th at 21hr:51m Disappearance of mu Ceti (Mag 4.3).
  • Jan 15th at 22hr:34m Reappearance of mu Ceti (Mag 4.3).
  • Jan 25th at 07hr:03m Reappearance of 7 Virginis (Mag 5.4).