January ends with a total lunar eclipse before sunrise on January 31st. The Full Moon will become darkened by the Earth’s shadow, which is also known as the umbra. Stargazers across most of northwestern North America can expect a special celestial treat as the Earth passes directly between the Sun and the Moon, which will gradually get darker and turn a rusty red color.
Just west of Rigel, the bright blue/white star that marks the western “knee” of Orion, lies the Witch Head Nebula (IC 2118), in the neighboring constellation Eridanus. The Witch-Head is a reflection nebula that shines from reflected light off of Rigel, like the reflection nebula in the Pleiades, M45.