Mars-Saturn-Antares Triangle

Hey, sky fans. It’s getting late, so thanks for spending a bit of your Saturday here. I wanted to quickly point out something going on tonight while I had a few minutes this evening. If your skies are clear (mine are stormy), have a look to the south. You’ll see a nice, near-equilateral triangle made by the planets Mars, Saturn, and the bright star Antares. I mentioned this a earlier this month, but remember to keep an eye on this part of the skies for the rest of the month. You can see Mars starting to creep back toward Saturn and Antares; backward relative to the background stars thanks to our changing point of view on Mars. Perspective is everything.

Over the next week and a half of so, you’ll see the triangle tighten and shrink as the three form into a neat line on August 23. After that, Mars will continue back toward the east and the triangle will stretch out in the other direction.

Here’s a quick sketch and, as a bonus, a screen shot from Stellarium. You can see tonight’s triangle, and also August 23rd’s nearly-straight line. I love watching stuff like this things play out overhead. So few astronomy things change on a time scale that we humans can see and grasp, it’s great to see stuff like this change, ever so slightly, from night to night until the picture changes entirely.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and clear skies!

Mars moving through the southern skies Aug. 13 & Aug. 23, 2016
Saturn, Mars & Antares, Aug 13 & Aug 23, 2016



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