October 23, 2021

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January new moon 2021: Jupiter, Saturn and Mercury get together in the ‘moonless’ sky

6 min read

The new moon of January will occur at 12 a.m. EST (0400 GMT) on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Our natural satellite will make a close pass to Mercury a day later, and while the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has passed, the two planets are still close together in the sky and will make a close grouping with Mercury just after sunset before all three sink below the horizon. 

New moons happen when the sun and moon share the same celestial longitude, a condition also called conjunction. Last month the new moon coincided with a total solar eclipse (at least if you were in South America), but that won’t happen this time, because the moon will “miss” the sun as it passes in the sky. The reason we don’t get eclipses every month is that the orbit of the moon is tilted relative to the plane of the Earth’s orbit, by about 5 degrees. 

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