This Week’s Night Sky: See the Red Planet for Yourself
As a Mars mission launches, it’s a great time to check the night skies for the planet, and to ring in the spring equinox.
Look for the red planet in the southern sky just before local dawn. It should be easy to find with the naked eye in the constellation Scorpius, as it glows distinctly orange-red and forms the upper right corner of an upside-down triangle, with yellow Saturn to its left and orange-hued Antares below.
Grab a small telescope and using high magnification to look for surface features, like the white polar caps on its tiny 10 arc-seconds-wide disk. Amazing to think humans have rovers and orbiters at Mars which is nearly 84 million miles (135 million kilometers), or seven light-minutes away from Earth.
Both Io and Europa’s tiny round shadows will appear to glide across Jupiter’s cloud tops from 10:22 p.m. EDT to