Full lunar eclipse begins Jan. 20
The Jan. 20 full moon will have its own special show — a total lunar eclipse.
The full moon will slide through the dark shadow of the earth, and for 62 minutes, the only light hitting the moon will be the reddish glow from earth's sunrises and sunsets resulting in a total lunar eclipse.
The first contact of the partial eclipse starts at 7:33 p.m. The eclipse's total phase will last for 62 minutes, beginning at 8:41 p.m. The point of the greatest eclipse will occur at 9:12 p.m. The eclipse ends at 9:43 p.m.
The eclipsed moon will be 43 degrees above the southeastern horizon at the instant of the greatest eclipse. Finally, the partial eclipse ends at 10:50 p.m.
Unlike solar eclipses in which the sun's rays can damage the eyes, lunar eclipses are safe to watch with the naked eye, according to Jim Todd, director of space science at OMSI. Lunar eclipses are unique in that no one can predict what color the moon will turn during totality. Binoculars and telescopes will enhance the view.
The planets Venus and Jupiter will converge for a bright and beautiful conjunction in the early morning sky on Jan. 22. "These are the two brightest celestial objects visible in the night sky other than the full moon," said Todd. "This will be the first of two conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter in 2019. A conjunction is an apparent meeting or passing of two or more celestial bodies."
The brightest of the pair is Venus, the second planet from the sun, which is a magnitude of -4.47 at 65 million miles from earth. Jupiter, the fifth planet, is a magnitude of -1.81 at 563 million miles from earth.
The earth's moon (waning crescent), with magnitude of -9 at 246,895 miles from earth, will join the pair at the end of the month. In line of view from earth, they will appear as conjunction.
"The month started out with brilliant Venus above Jupiter in the morning sky, yet the month ends with Jupiter above Venus," he said. "In short, Jupiter climbs upward, away from the sunrise, while Venus sinks downward, toward the sun."
On Jan. 22, Venus and Jupiter will be less than 3 degrees apart. As a bonus, on Jan. 31, the waning crescent moon and Venus will within less than 1 degree, easily viewed with no special equipment.
The second d conjunction between Venus and Jupiter will be in the evening of Nov. 24, at just 1.25 degrees apart.