Meeting of Saturn, Mars and the Moon

Take a look at western sky after sunset this Sunday. There will be a conjunction of two planets, a crescent Moon and a bright star. Beautiful…

The planets are Mars and Saturn, and the bright star is Regulus – the brightest star in Leo. Both Saturn and Regulus have been together for some times, and now Mars is joining the pair. And the best part is this Sunday evening a young crescent Moon is going to join the show. Don’t miss them!

Mars is the dimmest of them, shining at magnitude 1.7. Next is Regulus, slightly brighter than Mars, at magnitude 1.3. Saturn, shining at magnitude 0.8, is about a full magnitude brighter than Mars. The crescent Moon, of course, will be the brightest of the group.

Observe the colour contrast between the planets and the star. Mars appears orange-red while Saturn is yellowish and Regulus appears bluish-white.

080706 Leo

During the past months, Mars was moving from one constellation to another, making its way to Leo to meet its big brother, Saturn. On July 10 and 11, Mars will come to conjunction with Saturn, passes only 0.7 degrees south of Saturn. This will be the closest encounter of Mars and Saturn until year 2022.

Scan a telescope along the line: you’ll see craters on the Moon, a bright point of light from Regulus, a very tiny red disk of Mars and the majestic rings of Saturn. Take a good look at Saturn’s rings before it disappears from us next year.

If you do not have a telescope, it’s OK; naked eyes view of this celestial meeting is enough to take your breath away!

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~ by thChieh on July 5, 2008.

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