2022, September 3: Mars’ Eastward Trek, Moon near Antares

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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.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 3: Mars is with Taurus in the southeast before sunrise.

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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:

Morning Sky

SUMMARY OF PLANETS IN 2022 MORNING SKY

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 OPPOSITION 2022 SUMMARY

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.

Chart Caption – 2022: Through a binocular, Mars moves eastward near Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster.

The starfield is quite large and spills outside the field of view.  It is possible to see Mars with the V pattern.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 3: Through a binocular Mars is with a bright starfield in Taurus.

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.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 3: Jupiter is in the southwest before sunrise.

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.

Jupiter (NASA Photo)

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.

Evening Sky

Chart Caption – 2022, September 3: The moon is near Scorpius after sundown.

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.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 3: Two hours after sunset, Jupiter and Saturn are in the eastern sky.

By two hours after sunset, Jupiter is low in the east and Saturn is higher in the southeast.

Chart Caption – 2022, September 3: Through a binocular, Saturn is between Nashira and Iota Capricorni (ι Cap).

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.

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