September 2, 2022: Mars marches eastward through the starry fields of Taurus before daybreak. After sunset, the lunar orb is next to the Scorpion’s forehead.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:18 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:22 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
Mars continues its eastward march through Taurus before sunrise. It is above the Hyades star cluster ad Aldebaran that is about the same color and slightly dimmer than the planet.
Find the Red Planet over two-thirds of the way up in the southeast at one hour before sunrise. Compared to the distant stars, its change is easily spotted from morning to morning.
The planet’s background is seemingly made of many stars, some easily visible to the unaided eye, while others are easy to spot through a binocular. During the next week, Mars moves past the Hyades and Aldebaran, passing the brightest star on the 7th.
Through a binocular this morning, find Mars with the “V” shape, including Aldebaran, that outlines the Bull’s head. Move the binocular up slightly so that Epsilon Tauri (ε Tau on the charts) – the star at the top of the V on the west side – is near the bottom of the field of view. Note that Mars is between that star and Omega Tauri (ω Tau). In two mornings, Mars passes Kappa Tauri (κ Tau). The next morning, the planet passes between Epsilon and Upsilon Tauri (υ Tau).
Look each clear morning to watch Mars march eastward against these stars.
When looking for Mars, Jupiter is the “bright star” in the southwestern sky, while Venus is low in the east-northeast. Today, as Jupiter retrogrades, it moves into Pisces.
This evening the waxing moon, 42% illuminated, is low in the south-southwest at one hour after sundown. It is 1.6° to the lower right of Dschubba, the Scorpion’s forehead, also sometimes translated as its crown.
The constellation’s brightest star Antares is 9.0° to the left of the lunar orb this evening. Tomorrow evening, the moon is to the upper left of this bright reddish star. Watch the moon’s eastward trek compared to the sidereal background.
At this hour, Saturn is low in the southeast. By two hours after sunset, Jupiter rises in the east to join the Ringed Wonder that is higher in the southeast.
- 2023, October 18: Moon-Antares Conjunction, Bright PlanetsOctober 18, 2023: The moon is near Antares after sunset. Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn are in the sky during the nighttime hours.
- 2023, October 17: Scorpion MoonOctober 17, 2023: The crescent moon is with Scorpius during evening twilight. Venus and Jupiter gleam from the predawn sky.
- 2023, October 16: Venus in Starry ConjunctionOctober 16, 2023: Venus passes a star in Leo before sunrise. A crescent moon is low in the western sky during evening twilight.
- 2023, October 16-22: Celestial Events for the WeekOctober 16-22, 2023: The moon returns to the evening sky. Venus steps eastward in front of Leo, and a meteor shower is visible.
- 2023, October 15: Three Bright PlanetsOctober 15, 2023: Brilliant Venus and Jupiter are visible before sunrise. Saturn is above the southeast horizon after sundown.