August 31, 2022: Mars marches eastward between the Pleaides and Hyades star clusters. The evening crescent appears between the Ear of Corn and the Southern Pincer.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:18 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:27 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Here are today’s highlights:
At about an hour before sunrise, brightening Mars is high in the southeastern sky, near Aldebaran. The Red Planet is marching eastward in front of the stars of Taurus. From morning to morning, the planet’s changing place with the stars is easy to notice.
This morning Mars passes 4.4° to the upper left of Gamma Tauri (γ Tau on the chart). This star is part of the Hyades star cluster and at the bottom of the “V” that makes the Bull’s head.
During the next week, watch Mars pass the cluster and Aldebaran. On September 7th, the planet passes 4.3° to the upper left of the constellation’s brightest star. A binocular is helpful to track Mars’ trek.
Forty-five minutes after sunset, the crescent moon, 22% illuminated, is less than 15° above the west-southwest horizon. It is over 10° to the upper left of Spica – meaning “the ear of corn” – the brightest star in Virgo.
Look for the Scorpion’s pincers, Zubenelgenubi and Zubeneschamali, to the upper left of the moon. The moon is nearly halfway from Spica to Zubenelgenubi – the southern pincer. Tomorrow evening, the moon is to the lower left of that southern star.
This is another good evening to observe earthshine, sunlight reflected from Earth’s oceans, clouds, and land gently illuminates the lunar night. A binocular improves the view. Capture the effect with a tripod-mounted camera with exposures up to a few seconds.