Starwatch for Janaury 2024

Written by on March 15, 2024

Hello! I’m Karl Hricko of United Astronomy Clubs of NJ and the National Space Society, bringing you the January Starwatch for WNTI-The sound of Centenary.


Did you make any resolutions for this New Year? It all started around 4000 years ago by the Babylonians. It was part of their ritual that celebrated the first day of their new year. It started in March – the season of planting and the beginning of new life. It was set on their calendar as to when the first New Crescent Moon appeared after the Vernal Equinox.


January was placed as the first month of the year by the Romans because it was named after their two-faced god, Janus – with one face looking backward and the other looking forward. He was called the Guardian of Gates and Doors, and the god of beginnings.

Janus was celebrated as the Portal of Heaven, and the transition between the past and the future. This idea leads to our celebration of the eve of our New Year, as we make our resolutions to improve ourselves.

According to legend, Janus became the ruler of the kingdom of Latium, and gave sanctuary to Saturn, who was fleeing the wrath of Jupiter. Speaking about Saturn, the ringed planet will appear at dusk to the southwest, in Aquarius. Higher above in the same direction, a brighter Jupiter shines in Aries. At dawn, Venus, Mercury, and Mars all appear in the southeast. You can’t miss Venus in Ophiuchus at the top of this vertical lineup, while both Mercury then Mars are in Sagittarius.

So as we celebrate the month of Janus, let us try to keep our resolutions while we focus our eyes on the “Portals of Heaven”.

Until our next Starwatch – Don’t forget to check out …

What’s up in the night sky!

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