Moon approaching Mars
Search for a triangle of objects close to the moon on the evening of December 6-7, 2022. You’ll see the glowing Pleiades star cluster, the fiery purple star Aldebaran (Eye of the Bull in Taurus). And also you’ll see brilliant purple Mars, now simply someday away from its December 7-8 opposition. So Earth will fly between Mars and the solar tomorrow. And tomorrow evening – on December 7-8 – the moon will occult, or cross in entrance of, Mars. Heaps happening!
You’ll discover extra about tomorrow’s occasions on the hyperlinks beneath. For tonight, discover that the Pleiades, Aldebaran and Mars type a pleasant triangle within the sky, framing the moon as seen from our perspective in North America.
The Pleiades, or 7 Sisters
The Pleiades appear to be a tiny misty dipper within the sky. This cluster is extra dipper-like than the precise Little Dipper asterism within the northern sky. Some individuals see six stars within the Pleiades. Others see seven stars, or extra. In Greek skylore, the Pleiades have been known as the Seven Sisters.
Aldebaran, Eye of the Bull
Aldebaran is a brilliant red-orange star. You possibly can’t miss it! And, in case your sky is dark enough, discover that the star Aldebaran is the brightest member of a V-shaped grouping of star known as the Hyades star cluster. The traditional stargazers noticed the Hyades as forming the Bull’s Face, and Aldebaran because the Bull’s Eye. Many of the stars on this V are a part of a real star cluster in area. Aldebaran isn’t part of the cluster, although; it’s a brilliant foreground star.
Aldebaran is commonly brighter than Mars, when Mars is much throughout the photo voltaic system. However now – with Earth poised to cross between Mars and the solar tomorrow – Mars is brighter than Aldebaran!
An enormous week for Mars
Mars is a good goal to look at this week and all through December. And tomorrow evening for a lot of North America (the morning of December 8 for Europe), the total moon will occult – or eclipse – Mars. Then, simply hours later, Mars reaches opposition. That’s when Earth will cross between Mars and the solar, with Mars showing reverse the solar in our sky.
Mars is now rising at sundown and setting at dawn. At opposition, the gap between Mars and Earth can be roughly closest for a few two-year interval. So Mars is especially brilliant now … and enjoyable to see.
By the way in which, Mars will stay in Taurus for the remainder of the 12 months and a lot of the first quarter of 2023.
Backside line: See the moon approaching Mars on December 6, 2022. Plus look ahead to the Pleiades star cluster and purple star Aldebaran shut by. Right here’s what to search for.