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Jupiter's all-night show

January 2014: Perfect conditions await meteor observers when the Quadrantid shower peaks January 3, the opening salvo in a month that features Jupiter shining brilliantly nearly all night long.
Jupiter's dynamic cloud tops are a treat to view, particularly in the weeks surrounding its January 5 opposition

There’s lots of action in the planetary arena this month. At the top of the list is Jupiter, which appears better than it has in 13 months and remains on display all night. Venus, the only planet that outshines Jupiter, hangs low in evening twilight in early January and then reappears in the morning sky after midmonth. Once Venus exits the evening stage, Mercury arrives with a fine performance of its own late in the month. Not to be outdone, both Mars and Saturn improve noticeably as they climb high before dawn.

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