If you look east right now, you’ll see Mars. That’s the red “star” you see in the sky. It’s not too far above the horizon but it’s definitely red. As you look upon it, contemplate how far away it is. Think about how challenging it will be for us to get there and how cool it will be when we conquer that fate.
You can still see Jupiter and Saturn trailing each other. They’ve been a sight to see for some time now! Jupiter has been experiencing an outbreak of storms lately and they show up well in a telescope. The storms were supposed to be most pronounced next year but they’ve already started. They appear as bright white spots on the planet. As I said, Jupiter and Saturn are out tonight, as they have been for some time. Just look straight up and then scan southward a few degrees. That bright “star” is Jupiter, with Saturn just to the left (if you’re facing south). They set at about 1:00 am.
And the moon will be rising soon. It’s not nearly as full as it was a few days ago but it will surely still be a beautiful site. That moon will be very near to Mars as we go through the night. Last night, the moon even hid Mars for a time (occlusion).
At 1:29 am CDT the moon will be at apogee. That means it will be at its farthest distance from earth than at any other point of the year. That distance being a whopping 252,032 miles away. You know, it’s not easy getting to the moon. Can you imagine how hard it will be getting to Mars, with nearly 45 million miles to cover!? A challenge, indeed. A challenge accepted.
Using the link below, you can scroll down a bit and click on which planet you want to see. You can even see the timeline and see when the moon will be rising. It’s pretty cool to use. Check it out if you want at https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/night/@7169825. It looks like the image below. If you want to see where Mars is in the sky right now, just click on the Mars icon. It will even tell you if the planet you have selected is below the horizon (not viewable). I just started using this and I’m impressed so far.
So, happy star gazing! We couldn’t ask for better weather to do so in!