A Big Night in Scorpius

Hey, everyone. I hope you’ve been having a great Thursday up until now. These days, some of the more striking things you can see in the skies are off to the south. We’ve got two planets, Mars and Saturn, in the constellation Scorpius, which really stands out and pokes through the summery haze during these months. Tomorrow night’s Friday, the decidedly less unlucky, Friday the 15th. Things will get even more exciting in that part of the sky when the Moon, now a waxing gibbous, joins the fun.

Have a look at this sketch from down at Sky Watch HQ, which shows the skies to the south at around 10:30pm tomorrow night. The Moon will be stacked right above Saturn and the bright red supergiant Antares. Antares is the 15th brightest star in the nighttime sky, and is so big that if it were dropped down in our solar system, it’d suck up everything out to Mars and then some. It’s about 550 light years away, so its light started crossing the big emptiness before Columbus started crossing the ocean. Yet, from all that way, it’s still so bright that it looks red in the sky.

IMG_3150
The southern skies, July 15, 2016, 10:30pm

So, in one glance, about the width of a fist held at arm’s length, you’ll be able to see the biggest Moon relative to its home planet, the second biggest planet in the solar system, and one of the biggest stars you can see with the naked eye. Big, big, big.

If you’re interested in superlatives, tomorrow night’s for you. Have a look if you can.

Clear skies, everyone!

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