With the summer solstice behind us we begin the new year with the long days of summer ahead.

At least a month will go by before we will notice the nights lengthening as the sun starts to wander northward, heading for the winter.

As for the planets, all the action is in the early morning before the rising sun.

Magnificent Jupiter and ruddy red Mars rise in the morning before the dawn.


See them about 4am, as by 5.30am they disappear into the glow of the rising sun.

These two planets will be morning risers for the rest of this month.

From January 1, watch Mars as it sneaks up on Jupiter.

By January 6 they will be in conjunction, and be so close to each other that by January 7 they might appear as a single bright star in the morning sky.

Mars and Jupiter will appear only quarter of the moon's face apart and will be visible as two planets when you look at them through a pair of binoculars.

Around January 8 the two planets will appear similar to what the wise men saw about 5BC before they travelled to Bethlehem.

The Moon this month:

The full moon is tonight and is the first supermoon of the year.

The last quarter is on January 9, the new moon is on January 17 and the first quarter is on January 25.

There is another full moon on February 1.

This moon appears on January 31 for the United States and other countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

For them, it is a Blue Moon because it is the second full moon in a month.

This month's moon is called a Wolf moon.

The only visible meteor showers this month is the quadrentines, but there is not much to see because of the full moon.

The peak is on the mornings of January 3 and 4.

For more information see the Rotorua Astronomical Society. They are on Facebook.