Moon, Venus and Saturn

Tomorrow’s dawn, January 6th, will see the Moon, Venus and Saturn in a nice conjunction. A beautiful 12% illuminated crescent Moon will be a bit over 4° above Venus shining brightly at -4 magnituide. Saturn will be another 3° below Venus. As an added accent the bright star Antares will be 6° south of the trio.

Ares and Antares

Over the next few days the planet Mars will pass the bright star Antares. The two appear so similar in color and magnitude that the star’s name derives from Mars… The name Antares is from Anti-Ares or opposite of Mars. Recalling that the Greek name for the god of war Mars was Ares.

These two will appear close for several days, passing closest on the September 27th at a distance of 3.1°. Mars will be shining brightly at magnitude 0.8 while Antares will be very slightly dimmer at 1.1, almost too close to differentiate. The coloration is also quite close, a ruddy orange, making the two almost indistinguishable. Mars will be the one to the west. Both will be easily visible in the south after sunset.