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For all astronomy nerds (or anyone who just loves watching the night sky), this post is for you! While winter may be cold, I think we can all agree that the winter sky is much more clear and rich than the summer sky. There is something magical about bundling up and stargazing in the cold of winter with the stars and moon shining above and a hot beverage to keep you warm. Here follows a list of those nights that will be worth braving the cold night air. Grab a friend, blankets, thermos, binoculars, and enjoy the view nature provides for you!

All Times in 24h Military Time

  • January 3rd: The Quadrantid meteor shower will reach its peak rate of meteor’s this night. The shower will be active from dusk to 19:14 and then again starting at 21:56. The best displays will likely be right before dawn. This will be visible to the naked eye but it wouldn’t hurt to bring some binoculars for a closer look!

  • January 5th: The Moon and Jupiter will appear together in the night sky.

  • January 15th

    • The star cluster M47, inside the constellation Puppis, will be visible between 20:45 and 3:31. This will require binoculars to be seen. 
    • The spiral galaxy NGC 2403 will be visible in the night sky and reach its highest point around 00:00. This will require a large telescope to be seen. 
  • January 17th: Full Moon! Go out and enjoy the bright beaming moonlight! Maybe take a camera and do a moonlight photoshoot. 

  • January 19th: While the γ-Ursae Minorid meteor shower will be active from Jan. 15 to Jan. 25, it will reach its peak this morning. The best displays of the shower will be shortly before dawn around 5:00 on the 19th. This will be visible to the naked eye but it wouldn’t hurt to bring some binoculars for a closer look!

  • January 20th: Comet 19P/Borrelly will be at its brightest, and will be visible from 18:23 to 21:02. This will only be visible through a telescope!

  • January 29th: The moon and Mars will appear together in the sky. They will be visible in the dawn sky, rising at 5:08. This will be visible to the naked eye but it wouldn’t hurt to bring some binoculars for a closer look!

To learn more about these astronomical events and to view more for this coming year visit In-The-Sky.org. If you visit the site, make sure to set your location so you know which events are visible to your local area! 

Below is a list of books both nonfiction and fiction to allow you to explore astronomy and learn more about it! 

How Space Works

How the Universe works – and how we explore it – explained in simple words and clever graphics. The clearest, most visual guide to space and the Universe for complete beginners to astronomy. How Space Works shows you the different types of object in the Universe (so you’ll know your pulsars from your quasars) and introduces you to some of the strangest and most wonderful things known to science, including dark matter particles and ancient white dwarf stars that are almost as old as the Universe itself.

Recentering the Universe : the Radical Theories of Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo by Ron Miller

This title shows how a group of European scientists, in the span of roughly one hundred and fifty years (early 1500s to the mid-1600s) and working through direct observation, overturned the centuries’ old accepted view of a geocentric universe. Through their research and writings, they proposed and described a new order of things in which the Earth orbits the Sun.

Beyond the Mapped Stars by Rosalyn Eves

Seventeen-year-old Mormon girl Elizabeth is torn between becoming an astronomer and familial duties and faith when she navigates a whole new world of possibility, in this sweeping adventure set in Colorado in the late nineteenth century.

Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana

Tara, an Indian-American junior at Brierly prep school, feels her world dramatically change when a mirror planet to Earth is discovered and she reconsiders herself and possible selves.

Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis

Before her older sister died Carrie was a science nerd, obsessively tracking her beloved Vira comet. But now that Ginny is gone Carrie finds herself within the orbit of Ginny’s friends, a close-knit group of seniors who skip school, obsess over bands, and party hard. Carrie’s father, worried about her increasingly reckless behavior, enrolls her in a summer work camp at a local state park, she actually likes the days spent in nature. And when she meets Dean, a guy who likes the real Carrie–astrophysics obsessions and all–she starts to get to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Just before spending her sixteenth summer on Cape Cod, Sarah’s boyfriend breaks up with her and, as a scientist whose focus is on winning a scholarship through her study of a comet, she designs an experiment to become more like her older sister to see if she, too, can be popular.

The Night Sky: Month by Month by Will Gater with Giles Sparrow

This comprehensive reference book shines bright with crystal-clear month-by-month charts of the planets, stars, and constellations in the northern and southern hemispheres.

Cosmos: The Infographic Book of Space by Stuart Lowe and Chris North

Starting with the Big Bang itself, we explore the secret lives of galaxies and stars, and examine the thousand new planets now discovered beyond the Solar System – checking out their viability for alien life. We chronicle the incredible instruments and machines that are discovering the hidden secrets of the Universe, from ‘telescopes’ deep under the Antarctic ice to robotic explorers on distant worlds.

Constellations: The Story of Space Told Through the 88 Known Star Patterns in the Night Sky by Govert Schilling ; star maps by Wil Tirion

Perfect for stargazers and armchair astronomers of all ages, Constellations is a beautifully illustrated and fascinating guide to all 88 constellations, including an illustrated star map for each

Dark Skies: A Practical Guide to Astrotourism by Valerie Stimac

Discover the best stargazing destinations around the world with Lonely Planet. This comprehensive companion includes guides to 35 dark-sky sites and national parks, where to see the aurora, the next decade of total solar eclipses and how to view rocket launches, plus the lowdown on commercial space flight.