Old Moon Shines with Mars and Bright Antares
Look for the waning crescent moon shining in the neighbourhood of Mars and the bright star Antares in the predawn sky on January 17-20, 2020. Here are tips for observation.
Mars shines in the southeastern sky before dawn sky this week and for several more months to come. The red-tinted planet will rise at about 4:30 am local time and remain visible until dawn as a red-tinted, star-like object of medium brightness. This week, Mars will sit to the lower left (or celestial east) of the three white claw stars of Scorpius (the Scorpion), and draw farther away from them every morning. At the same time, if you have a low, open southeastern horizon, look for Mars’ stellar rival, the bright, ruddy-tinted star Antares, sitting a palm’s width to the lower right of Mars. On Friday and Saturday morning, January 17-18, Mars will pass less than a palm’s width (or 5 degrees) to the north of Antares. Bright reddish Antares will outshine Mars.
Antares (α Scorpii) is a red supergiant star that can be easily recognized with the naked eye and the fifteenth-brightest star in the night sky. Being the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius, Antares marks the animal’s heart. By the way, the star got its name Antares which means “like Mars”, “rival of Mars” due to its distinctly reddish color.
On Monday, January 20, the Moon and Mars will make a close approach in the morning sky. In the predawn southeastern sky, the waning crescent moon will be positioned less than four finger widths to the upper right (or 4 degrees to the celestial northwest) of Mars. The Moon will shine at magnitude -10.8, and Mars at magnitude 1.4. Both objects will fit into the field of view of binoculars and will be visible to the naked eye.
Find out where to look to find planets and stars in the sky and get notified of celestial events with the stargazing app Star Walk 2.