2022 will prove to be another great year for Sky-Watchers with plenty of events to watch including a total lunar eclipse in May. Three outer planets will be at opposition (their best and brightest) in the second half of the year. Saturn on August 14th; Jupiter on September 26th; and Mars on December 8th.
January opens the year with a great lineup of 4 planets in the southwestern sky soon after sunset. The crescent Moon will slide underneath all 4 planets for several nights early in the month. And Mars will be found in the morning sky before dawn moving through the rich Milky Way star fields of Sagittarius.
Start looking near the southwest on January 1st for brilliant Venus. By January 8th it will have pulled in front of the Sun and be lost to view until late January when it will come up before the Sun rises in the southeastern sky. Venus will set 1 hour after sunset from January 1st to January 7th. Just to its upper left is Mercury. A very thin crescent Moon is also upper left of Venus slightly past Mercury. Saturn will be found nearby about 12 degrees above the Moon, and even further to the left look for Jupiter, noticeably brighter than Mercury or Saturn.
As Venus appears to sink toward the Sun (January 1st to the 7th), Mercury will appear to rise toward Saturn. By January 12th and 13th these two planets will appear very close (just 3 degrees apart). Mercury will still set an hour after sunset through January 17, but by January 23 it too will disappear in front of the Sun.
Saturn will drop in altitude all month and will be lost in the glare of the Sun by January 20th. Check out Saturn close to the Moon on January 5th.
Jupiter will remain visible all month, but by January 31st it will start to disappear into the glare of the Sun, so look for it earlier in the month.
The Quadrantid meteor shower, usually one of the better ones each year, peaks around January 3rd. It is centered in the northeastern sky in the direction of Bootes, Hercules, and Lyra. As with most meteor showers the early morning hours are the best viewing time, so look for the Quadrantids around 4 am. But dress warmly; remember it is winter! Expect anywhere from 30 to 60 meteors per hour from this shower. Active dates are from December 29th through January 12th, with the January 3rd peak.
Full Moon will be on January 17th.