A few minutes after sunset last October 18, 2012, two reddish objects were found near the waxing crescent Moon (12% illuminated) in the western sky. These two bright red objects were actually the planet Mars, and the bright star Antares in the constellation Scorpius. Mars was about 2 degrees to the upper left from the Moon, and Antares about 4 degrees to the lower left from Mars.
Mars and Antares are often mistaken for each other because of their similarity in appearance. In fact, the name Antares means “Rival of Mars” in Greek.
All photos were taken using Canon Powershot SX40 HS. Some if the images were blurry. My camera got out of focus and i didn’t notice till it was too late!
Click on the images to see larger versions.
The sky was extra clear that night. Amazed by the beauty of the starry night sky, I took my camera out again and snapped this photo while walking home:
Last Jan. 25, Saturn, Spica and the Moon formed a beautiful triangular celestial grouping. During the following days, early risers can watch the waning crescent Moon pass bright Venus, with Antares and Scorpius looking on. Check southeastern sky a few hours before sunrise.
Location of the Moon in the predawn sky for the next few days:
Jan. 29 — Moon is near the red star Antares in the constellation Scorpius
Jan. 30 — Venus and Crescent Moon are almost 5 degrees apart
Jan. 31 — Moon will be located just above the “Teapot” asterism in Sagittarius
Feb. 1 — Moon and Mercury will be less than 10 degrees from each other
This is a good opportunity to spot these celestial objects because of their proximity with one another and because of their perfect location within the prominent constellations. Clear skies!
Reference: Stellarium Planetarium Software
Another great opportunity to image the naked-eye planets, Venus and Mercury in the Eastern sky during predawn hours of the next few days. Both will be located close to red star, Antares of Scorpius.