Sep 2014

Nice Planet Alignment Sep 29

Look West for a nice planetary alignment on Monday evening Sep 29. The crescent Moon will be sitting just above reddish Mars which itself is just above equally reddish Antares. Join Mars to Antares and hang a right and the line will intersect the planet Saturn.

Screen shot 2014-09-27 at 5.13.22 PM

Mars and Antares have a long history as the name "Antares" means "rival of Mars", recognition by the ancient astronomers that Mars and Antares have similar colours. The two align every two years or so since Antares is one of the few 1st magnitude stars that lie close to the path of the planets -the ecliptic. Have a look and compare for yourself. The brightness of Antares is given by Starry Night as 1.03 and Mars comes in at 0.8. Are they equally bright to your eye? Are they the same colour?
Saturn's rings can also be glimpsed in binoculars and look even better in any telescope. Better have a peek since it will very soon be too close to the Sun for viewing.
John H.