Mars marches eastward in Pisces during December. After its retrograde ended last month, the planet slowly began its eastward traverse. Now, the planet rapid strides eastward among the dim stars.
Find the planet high in the southeast after sunset. It has a distinctly reddish color and brighter than other stars in the region. It is south about 8 p.m. CST, approximately 3 hours, 30 minutes after local sunset. By 2:30 a.m. CST, about 4 hours, 30 minutes before sunrise, Mars sets in the west.
At month’s end, Mars is in the south by 2 hours, 30 minutes after sunset. It sets in the west about 5 hours, 30 minutes before sunrise.
On December 1, the planet is near Epsilon Piscium (ε Psc) and 80 Piscium (80 Psc). With a binocular watch the planet move into a dim, tiny triangle of stars made by Zeta Piscium (ζ Psc), ε Psc, and 80 Psc.
As the planet moves away from the tiny triangle, it heads toward the general region of Pi Piscium (π Psc). Look at a wider view as Mars travels toward the Pleiades star cluster. The Red Planet reaches that region during early March.
On December 23, the gibbous moon joins Mars for a nearly all-night trek across the sky.
Watch Mars march eastward during the month of December 2020.
February 19-21: The bright moon moves through the constellation Taurus. Use a binocular to see the starry background with the moon.
February 18, 2021: The moon, waxing toward its First Quarter moon phase, is high in the southwest after sunset. Planet Mars is 3.8° to the upper right of the moon. Mars is parading eastward compared to the starry background in eastern Aries as it heads toward the Taurus border.
February 6, 2021: Before sunrise, look east-southeast for the waning crescent moon. It is 4.5° to the upper left of Antares – the rival of Mars.