James Abbott, of North Essex Astronomical Society, on what you can see in the sky above Essex in January.

Mars remains prominent throughout January, in Taurus.

On the evening of the 3rd, the Moon will pass about one degree (two moon-widths) below the Red Planet. In mid-month Mars will be high in the south at around 9pm.

Full Moon is on the night of the 6th/7th, with our companion in space beaming down from its winter height.  

Jupiter is still prominent though best seen in the early evening in the South West. By the end of January Jupiter is getting low in the sky by about 9pm.

The young Moon will be nearby on the evening of the 25th.

Venus may be seen low in the South West in evening twilight, gaining altitude by the end of the month as it heads towards a fine evening showing this coming Spring.

Comet 2022 E3 ZTF is looking promising to be at least a bright object in binoculars towards the end of January.

On the 30th it will be about 10 degrees to the right of Polaris, the Pole Star, and moving rapidly from night to night, getting progressively higher in the sky.

The comet is closest to the Earth on February 1.

During the evenings of the last week of January at about 9pm is a good time to view three of the best 'deep sky' objects with binoculars.

As shown on the map, firstly starting with the Pleiades star cluster, this can be found high in the south, just to the right of Mars.

The Pleiades are about 440 light years from us with some of the cluster stars being easily seen with the unaided eye – known to people thousands of years ago as the Seven Sisters.

Secondly, below Mars is a V shaped formation of stars known as the Hyades. These are closer to us than the Pleiades, about 150 light years distant.

Thirdly, moving down to Orion, below the familiar three belt stars is the Orion Nebula.

Visible as a hazy patch to the unaided eye, through binoculars or a small telescope the nebula is a superb sight – a glowing patch of gas with young stars embedded in it, which is about 1,300 light-years from us.