October 25, 2022: A partial solar eclipse occurs today for sky watchers in the eastern hemisphere. Red Planet Mars is the lone bright morning planet.
by Jeffrey L. Hunt
Chicago, Illinois: Sunrise, 7:15 a.m. CDT; Sunset, 5:54 p.m. CDT. Check local sources for sunrise and sunset times for your location.
A partial solar eclipse is visible from most of Europe, Middle East, Central Asia and northeastern Africa. The core of the moon’s shadow misses Earth’s surface. The maximum eclipse (86%) occurs at 11:00 Universal Time (UT) – time at Greenwich, England.
For our readers in the regions of visibility see this link for more details.
Here is today’s planet forecast:
Mars is the lone bright planet in the morning sky. It is on a firmament with many bright stars. It is high in the southwestern sky before daybreak. The planet is to the upper right of Orion and nearly two-thirds of the way up in the west-southwest.
The Red Planet is above the Bull’s horns, Elnath and Zeta Tauri. The animal’s head resembles a letter “V,” made by reddish Aldebaran and the Hyades star cluster. The Pleiades are on the back. Taurus does not have a tail or back legs. On celestial artwork, part of its body is emerging from clouds.
On the 30th, Mars reverses its course and begins to retrograde. Earth is slowly catching the planet. As we get closer, the line of sight from Earth to Mars – that normally moves eastward through the starfield – begins to move westward or retrograde. It seems as though Mars has been hanging out near Zeta Tauri for several days. Its eastern pace has slowly considerable as the westward turn nears.
Mars is part of an overnight planet parade that begins after sunset and led by Saturn with Jupiter in the middle. The three planets are strung across the sky before midnight, although Saturn sets seven hours before sunup – an hour or so after local midnight. Jupiter follows around three hours before daybreak, leaving Mars with a stellar field of dreams that features Sirius and Orion, complemented by Procyon, Castor, Pollux, and Capella.
With Mercury departing the morning sky, rising 50 minutes before sunup, bright Arcturus is higher in the east-northeast each morning. The topaz star is the brightest star in the northern half of the sky, north of the imaginary celestial equator, above Earth’s equator.
Venus is beginning a slow climb into the western evening sky, becoming the Evening Star next month. This evening it sets only six minutes after the sun.
Bright Jupiter, about a month after its solar opposition is in the east-southeast after sunset. While a planet reflecting sunlight, it is the brightest star in the sky. At least a binocular is needed to see that it is a globe.
Jupiter is retrograding for about the next month. It is in front of a dim starfield from Pisces. Its westward trek is not easily tracked.
Saturn returned to its eastward motion a few nights ago. The Ringed Wonder is about one third of the way up in the south-southeast in eastern Capricornus. It is west of Deneb Algedi and Nashira and east of Iota Capricorni (ι Cap on the chart), easier seen through a binocular. During the next several days, Saturn appears to pick up eastward speed, opening a gap to Iota and moving toward Nashira.
December 31, 2022: Mercury begins to depart the evening sky, leaving four bright planets – Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars on display for New Year’s Eve.Keep reading
December 30, 2022: The night’s brightest star, Sirius, is in the south at midnight as the year ends. The bright planet evening display continues as Mercury disappears into bright twilight.Keep reading
December 29, 2022: The evening planet display is ending as Mercury begins to retrograde and fade in brightness. Look for Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Moon, and Mars after sundown.Keep reading