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DARK SKY HAPPENINGS - January 2018

Moab UT (at City Hall)
38O34’ N Latitude 109O33’ W Longitude
4048 ft - 1234 m

2017 Year in Review - Moab Dark Skies
By Darcey Brown

 

Sunrise-Sunset
for January

(The time of sunrise and sunset assumes a flat horizon.
Actual time may vary depending upon the landscape.)

DATE

SUNRISE

SUNSET

1

7:36am

5:08pm

2

7:36am

5:09pm

3

7:36am

5:10pm

4

7:36am

5:11pm

5

7:36am

5:12pm

6

7:36am

5:13pm

7

7:36am

5:14pm

8

7:35am

5:15pm

9

7:35am

5:16pm

10

7:35am

5:17pm

11

7:35am

5:18pm

12

7:35am

5:19pm

13

7:34am

5:20pm

14

7:34am

5:21pm

15

7:34am

5:22pm

16

7:33am

5:23pm

17

7:33am

5:24pm

18

7:32am

5:25pm

19

7:32am

5:26pm

20

7:31am

5:27pm

21

7:31am

5:29pm

22

7:30am

5:30pm

23

7:30am

5:31pm

24

7:29am

5:32pm

25

7:28am

5:33pm

26

7:27am

5:34pm

27

7:27am

5:35pm

28

7:26am

5:36pm

29

7:25am

5:38pm

30

7:24am

5:39pm

31

7:23am

5:40pm

Moab Dark Skies had a very busy 2017. Here is a sample of the activities that took place in support and appreciation of the Moab night sky.

In March, Dead Horse Point State Park and the National Park Service hosted youth from the Moab Valley Multi-Cultural Center for an evening star party that included celestial games and telescope viewing of the stars and constellations. In September, a similar event “Stars Out Moab” was held at the downtown ball fields for the entire community.

A lighting assessment was conducted over the summer on all publicly owned exterior lights in Moab and Spanish Valley. A presentation was provided to the community including Moab and Grand County Councils during the Moab Festival of Science. In response, Moab City Council budgeted to replace all city owned lights bulbs with dark sky friendly features and to correctly shield city lights. In July, the City adopted a revised General Plan which includes language that supports the protection of Moab’s night skies and set a goal to become a Dark Sky Community by 2019.

During the September Art Walk, Moab Dark Skies and the Moab Arts and Recreation Center offered a Night Sky Art Contest. There were over 50 entries that included a variety of artistic mediums. Prizes were awarded to pieces that best exemplified the beauty and splendor of the night sky. 

In early fall, the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Park and HMK Elementary school continued the 5th annual “Look Where We Live” program. This year the program not only focused on painting the landscape but included a night sky theme. Over 200 3rd and 4th grade kids participated with Art Coach Bruce Hucko in learning how to appreciate our national parks through art. An exhibit of the kid’s art will be showcased during a special event in early 2018.

In November, the League of Women Voters and the Grand County Debate Team joined together for a Dark Sky informational presentation. The speech portion of the program featured Team Captain Grace Osusky’s personal reflections on the importance of seeing and experiencing the night sky and the threats from increasing light pollution. 

With plans already underway for more events, 2018 promises to be another exciting year to get out and enjoy the dark skies over Moab.

Moab Dark Skies mission is to promote the appreciation and conservation of Moab’s valuable and rare dark skies. The Moab Dark Skies was established by the Friends of Arches and Canyonlands Parks in conjunction with the National Park Service and Utah State Parks Division of Natural Resources.

VISIBLE PLANETS
Morning (At Twilight)
Mars – Look for a small red disk rising in the eastern sky around 7:53 am.
Jupiter – The brightest object in the January sky rises around 2:19 am.

Twilight is often the best time to look for Venus and Mercury because they frequently rise or set within one-half to one hour of sunrise or sunset. Twilight transitions between night and day in three stages at each end of the day.

January Constellations

The six January constellations include such notable groups as Orion (the hunter) and Taurus (the bull). Hidden among these stellar groupings can be found the famous Orion Nebulae, one of the brightest nebulae in the sky. Orion is also the home of the famous Horsehead Nebula, a dark region of dust in the shape of a horse’s head set against a beautiful pink reflection nebula. Also visible are the Pleiades, or seven sisters. The Pleiades is a small cluster of young stars still nestled in parts of the gas nebula that formed them.

MOON HAPPENINGS
Wahoo—-there are two full moons in January! The first will be on the night of Jan. 1 and will be the year’s first “super moon” due to it’s proximity—just 356,846 kilometers from Earth. A second super moon, also a “blue moon” because it is the second full moon in one month, will occur on Jan. 31 and will feature a lunar eclipse. The western U.S. is in the path of totality for the eclipse and it will be visible at moonset (6:30 am). Totally-eclipsed moons are sometimes called “blood moons” as they appear red. So, the second full moon of the month is a “super blue blood moon”!
January 1 Full moon Rises: 5:08 pm
January 2 Last quarter
January 16 New moon
January 24 First quarter Rises 11:48 am
January 31 Full moon Rises 6:08 pm

Hold the star chart high above your head and match the compass directions to the direction you are facing. Adjust the star chart by orienting Ursa Major (Big Dipper) to match its position in the sky and pull the edges down to create a dome.

The star chart approximates the sky from astronomical twilight to midnight. As the night and month progresses, the constellations shift toward the northwest. The celestial equator is measured in hours (h). The ecliptic is measured in degrees.

 
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