Jupiter is still the only planet conveniently situated for observation. He rises now about 7 o'clock in the evening, so that by 10 o'clock he is well above the roofs and trees. The position of this planet among the stars is very interesting just now. On the first of January he is quite close to the fourth magnitude st,ar lJ Cancri, anll a little south of the Beehive clus- tel' in Cancer. Not only is a means thus offered by which those unacquainted with the stars may, with certainty, recognize this curious stellar region. but the picturesqueness of the view is increased, and a more striking idea of the profundity of space may be form- ed when one sees the. united light of hundreds of disit tant suns outshone by the reflected rays from a com. paratively nearby and insignificant planet. Yet. although Jupiter may be called insignificant when compared. with a sun, he is anything but insig- nificant when studied in his own chara cter of a giant planet. It is an impressive thing. to any thoughtful person, to look npon a globe 1,300 times as ll.'.rge as the earth, and contemplate the bare possibility of its be- ing inhabited, either now or at some future time. If I were a",ked, "What is the most instructive sight that tbe telescope reveals in the heavens!" I should be strongly tempted to reply, "The planet Jupiter, with his circling moons." There-and it is a spectacle not reserved for the possessors of the largest telescopes- one perceives the law of gravitation operating visibly on an enormous scale; one sees globes larger than the moon tratling out elliptical orbits so swiftly that a single evening's observat?? plainly reveals their change of place ; one beholds eclipses with their mechaniEm displayed as the finest model could not do it; and the play of shadows on t he face of another planet; and the movement of clouds; and the align- ment of zones. shading off from a brilliant equator to dusky poles; and the rapid turning of a vast world 't . f t t' upon 1 s 8.XlS o ro a Ion. In referenclHo this rotation, I may remark that now, when the 'planet is visible the entire night, an/excel - lent opportunity is presented to se-6 one complete turn of Jupiter on his axis. Let the observation begin at 8 P. M. and end at 6 A. M. Between those 'bours the ob - server will have seen al l sides of the giant planet in succession. and when he leaves the telescope the face of Jupiter will have resnmed the appearance it had at the time his eye was first applied to the tube. And in the meantime he will have beheld Dlany a scene that has puzzled the astronomers. for the surface of Jupiter is strangely and wonderfully variegated. Venus is in Libra near Scorpio. and rises on the 1st of the month about 4 o'clock in the morning. At the end of January she will be in Sagittarius. rising about 5:80 A. M. Her ??ign is passing and will Dot be re- sumed until she reappears in the sunset next autumn. Mercury is in Sagittarius at the opening of the mouth, too close to the sun to be observed, but about the 23d, when be is in the eastern part of Capricorn, he will be visible in the evening, more than 18 degrees east of the sun. Mal'S is in Ophiuchns, moving toward Sagittarius, and on the 1st rises about 6 A. M. Sa turn remains a few degrees east of a LibrlB, rising on the 1st about 3 A. M. and on the 31st about 1 A. M. But there are few who will care to break their rest time' even for the sake of beholding that most singular of I celestial objects, a planet with rings, especialIy si nce, in the spring, Saturn will rise early in the even ing. Uranus is in Libra, not very far east of Saturn, and Neptune is in Taurus. well situated, but too faint for I satisfactory observation, even with a telescope of COD- siderable power. The llloon'is waningwhen Janu.ry opens, although but just past the full by a few hours. New moon occorn curs late in the afternoon of the 14th; first, quarter on the evening of the 22d in Aries; full on the morning of the 30th in Cancer. Perigee occurs an hour before midnight on the 3d, and apogee about the same hour of the night on the 19th. The llloon is in perigee for a second time this month on the evening of the 31st. The lunar conjunctions witb the planets occur as fol- lows: Jupiter on the 2d justbefore midnigbt (the planet will be less than 2' soutb of the moon. a pretty sigbt); Saturn on the evening of the 9th. invisible; Uranus on the lllorning of t.he 10th; Ventis onthe morning of the 11th; Mars on the morning of. the 12th; Mercury on the mornillg of the 16th. invisible; Neptune on the morning of the 2 6th, invisible; Jupiter (second time), before sunset on the 20th. The wonderful variable star Algol, in Caput Me dusre, is now well situated for observation. It will be at a minimum on the 9tb, half an hour after midand night. The observer should begin to watch it. using either the naked eye or an opera glass. early in the evening, noting the gradual diminution of its light as compared with the small stars near it. It remains at minimum bllt a few minutes, although ree or four hours are required for it to regain its full brilliance. Auother minimum occurs on the 11th, at 9:23 P. M. The star Myra, in Cetus, which is as remarkable among long'period variables as Algol is among shortalty period ones, is now brightening'. It began to be visiing ble with a fleld glass about the middle of December, and it will probably increase in brilliance for about two months. When brightest, it is sometimes of the third magnitUde. An occultation of the first magnitude star Regulus, or a Leonis. by the moon. will occur about ten minand utes before 11 o'clock P. M. on the 3d. The earth arrives at that point in its orbit which is nearest the sun at 1 o'clock on the afternoon of the 1st. GARRETT P. SERVISS.
This article was originally published with the title "The January Sky"