Mars, still relatively fresh from last month’s brilliant opposition, remains the main planetary interest. The red planet is an unmistakable sight as it rides relatively high in Taurus; it can be seen high in the east as night-fall. Although it fades from magnitude –1.2 to –0.3 and shrinks in apparent diameter from 14.5″ to 10.7″, it’s on-show all month until past midnight.
A 80mm (~three-inch) telescope can show Mars’ most prominent dusky marking, the wedge- or V-shaped Syrtis Major, which is prominent on the Mars disc for the first half of the month.
A waxing gibbous Moon pays a welcome visit to the red planet on the evening of 3 and 30 January, on the latter date it’s placed between Mars and the marvellous Pleiades open cluster.