Mars and celestial friends on May 22nd!
Sunday night has a very interesting grouping of the moon, a star and two planets! The moon will be full rising in the East at sunset. It is the top of a diamond of bright objects. Since the moon is easy to spot, it will help find Mars, Antares and Saturn. As we go around the diamond from the moon in a clockwise manner, Bright Mars will be seen to the West of the moon and lower in the sky. 11:00 Pm would be a great time or after that time to see the diamond.
Mars will be at a position relative to Earth known as opposition. At opposition the distant planets are in line with the sun, Earth and the planet. Mars will be closer to the Earth and will be very bright. A telescope would help resolve the Southern ice cap.
The bottom of the diamond is the reddish star in Scorpius called Antares. It is the sixteenth brightest star of the night sky. It has a very reddish color and its Greek name means “Rival of Mars” because of its reddish color. Antares is the God of war! It will be at opposition on May 31st.
The Eastern object is the planet Saturn. It will be a little yellow and the third brightest of the four objects. Saturn is in the thirteenth Zodiac sign called Ophiuchus and will be at opposition on June third. The other objects in our diamond are all in the constellation or Scorpius.
The moon will traverse the sky during the night and by the next evening, it will not be part of the diamond, but we will still have the two planets and Antares to form a triangle in the evening sky. A third planet, Jupiter, will be high in the Southwest.
Hope we can get a glimpse of the triangle and diamond this week.