Rashmi Rekha Das

The moon is a wonderful thing to observe throughout the year and stargazers will be happy to know that the moon will be getting brighter in the post-sunset western sky for this week.   

It won’t be wrong to say that skygazers will witness different amazing things starting from Monday to January 15. 

According to sources close to the Planetarium, stargazers can easily see 91%-lit waning gibbous moon close to Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo “the Lion.”

On Tuesday, the moon will be seen 84 percent brighter close to Regulus as it appears on the eastern horizon a few hours after sunset. Look high in the south anytime after dark and you’ll see reddish Mars forming a triangle with another reddish object and a bright yet fuzzy patch.

On January 12, a newly discovered comet, which has not been seen in the past 50,000 years, is set to become visible to the naked eyes in the coming weeks. The comet will make its closest approach to Earth on the day, when it is expected to light up the night sky.

Discovered in 2022, Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) will likely brighten as it gets closer to its perihelion—its closest point to the sun—on January 12, 2023. From the northern hemisphere the comet is now in the morning sky, but as it moves northwest during January it will become an all-night object, revealed sources

On January 14, the moon will be seen 47 per cent brighter as the brightest star in the constellation of Virgo Janha Spica will pass the moon. One of the 15 brightest stars in the entire sky, Spica is a blue giant star about 250 light-years distant.

The moon will appear half-lit and be at last quarter on Sunday. Over the next week it will shrink to a crescent moon and then to an invisible new moon as it moves roughly between Earth and Sun and gets lost in the latter’s glare, add sources.

Subhendu Patnaik, Deputy Director of Pathani Samanta Planetarium, said “The moon will look like a supermoon when it passes through Regulus. As there is no sign of rain, the sky will also look brighter in its impact. People can easily see four planets except Venus.”