January is often a challenging month for Brisbane astronomers as clouds and storms are common and finding a clear night is a rare event.  However, an interesting region of the sky passes over us this month, so it is worth a try.

In the early evenings of February we will have the outer arms of our Milky Way Galaxy stretching right across the sky from the south to the north.  While most of the best observing targets will be in the southern sky there are still great targets all across the sky.  February is also one of the best months to observe the Orion constellation and all its fantastic targets.

The outer arms of our Milky Way Galaxy, in particular the Orion Spur and Perseus Arm, will be stretched diagonally across the sky in the early evening from south-east to north-west.  The constellation Carina will be well placed on the meridian for great viewing.

The Sun sets earlier now and so we can get some extra observing hours each evening.  The outer arms of our Milky Way Galaxy now lie across the low southern sky and looking towards the north and Leo we will be looking into deep space – perfect for distant galaxy hunting.

The outer arms of our Milky Way Galaxy now stretch from the eastern to western horizon but low in the southern sky.  To the north the sky is nothing but deep space and countless galaxies.

June brings the dense central bulge of our Milky Way Galaxy into view in the eastern sky.  This is a great time for hunting nebulae and globular clusters as Scorpius and Sagittarius come into view.

  Long cool winter nights of July mean it is Sagittarius time.  July is the best time to look deep into the core of our own galaxy.
  August is another great month for peering into the arms and core of our Milky Way Galaxy. Scorpius and Sagittarius are the highlight constellations this month.
  By September the nights are getting a little bit shorter and the centre of our Milky Way Galaxy is heading for the western horizon.  So make the best use of the central region of our galaxy while you can. But also search new constellations such as Sculptor for some fantastic deep-space galaxy hunting.
  If you are quick you can just catch Scorpius and Sagittarius before they leave our October western skies.  Or look to the north late in the evening to find the huge Andromeda Galaxy low in the sky or seek countless more distant galaxies in the constellation Eridanus.
  The November nights are getting shorter and the observing now starts later in the evening.  Just some of the summer month challenges for amateur astronomers. But there are still plenty of astronomical reasons this month to get your telescope out under a dark sky.
  Another trip around the Sun almost complete.  It will take many more future trips to see everything the sky and astro-catalogues have to offer.  So start planning your observing dates and targets for 2018 and your next trip around the Sun.