September 3, 2022: Mars continues its eastward march with Taurus. Each morning its changing place with the stars is noticeable. After sunset, the waxing moon is near Antares.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 6:19 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 7:21 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
The moon is at its First Quarter phase today at 1:08 p.m. CDT
Here is the planet forecast for today:
Step outside an hour before sunrise. The eastern sky is full of the stars that are in the evening sky during winter. They have made their first appearances during the summer season. This congregation seems to be led westward by the Pleiades star cluster, high in the south-southeast.
Mars is to the lower left of the cluster, near the Hyades cluster and Aldebaran. The Red Planet is marching eastward against the distant stars. The starfield behind Mars is rich in stars that are part of the Hyades.
The Hyades and reddish Aldebaran make a letter “V” that outlines the head of the Bull. Mars is near Epsilon Tauri (ε Tau on the charts), the star opposite Aldebaran on the V. Use a binocular to check Mars’ position each morning. This is easy to observe.
The starfield is quite large and spills outside the field of view. It is possible to see Mars with the V pattern.
Move the binocular slightly to spot other stars, such as Omega Tauri (ω Tau), Kappa Tauri (κ Tau), and Upsilon Tauri (υ Tau). This morning Mars is 1.4° to the upper right of Epsilon, 1.5° to the lower left of Omega, and 2.0° to the lower right of Kappa.
At this hour, bright Jupiter is about one-third of the way up in the southwest. It is retrograding in front of Pisces. Earth is catching up to Jupiter, passing between the planet and the sun on the 26th.
Deneb Kaitos, the tail of Cetus, the next constellation east of Pisces, is less than halfway from Jupiter to the horizon.
While in brighter twilight in the Central Time Zone, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, a long-lived “storm” in the southern hemisphere, is in the middle of the planet in the southern hemisphere at 5:56 a.m. CDT. A telescope is needed to see it. The spot is visible 50 minutes before and after the prime time.
Brilliant Venus is low in the east-northeast at 45 minutes before sunrise. Each morning the planet is rising 2-3 minutes later, making it appear in brighter twilight.
An hour after sundown, the waxing moon, 53% illuminated, is about 20° above the south-southwest horizon, and 5.3° to the upper left of Antares, the star that marks the heart of the Scorpion. The moon continues its eastward trek moving toward Sagittarius. This evening the lunar orb is with Ophiuchus.
At this hour, Saturn is slightly lower than the moon, but in the southeast.
By two hours after sunset, Jupiter is low in the east and Saturn is higher in the southeast.
Saturn is retrograding in eastern Capricornus, 2.1° to the upper right of Nashira and 2.4° to the upper left of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap on the chart). Use a binocular to see the starfield, especially to see Iota.
Mars crosses the eastern horizon nearly three hours after Jupiter rises. After midnight, find the Red Planet in the eastern sky; Jupiter in the south-southeast; and Saturn in the southwest.
- 2023, October 20: Jupiter’s Double Shadows, Mercury at Superior ConjunctionOctober 20: After midnight, Jupiter’s moons’ shadows dance across the cloud tops. Mercury is at superior conjunction.
- 2023, October 19: Poured Moon, See Planet UranusOctober 19: Sagittarius seems to pour the moon into the sky this evening. Find Uranus with a binocular.
- 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.