Moon Saturn Mars and Antares tonight and tomorrow

Tonight and tomorrow you have a great opportunity to spot the Moon, Saturn and Mars, and the supergiant, Antares, all forming a neat little pattern in the south western night sky after sunset.

You can easily spot all three with the naked eye - just look for the quarter moon, and then look for the nearest 3 bright objects.

Moon Saturn Mars and Antares

How to find the moon, Saturn, Mars and Antares​

Forming almost a line under the moon, in the south western night sky, you'll first see a yellowy white "star", but it's not a star - it's the wonderfully ringed giant planet, Saturn.

Although it appears close to the moon, which is only around 250,000 miles away from us (400,000 km), Saturn is actually almost 940,000 miles (1,510 billion km) away. To put that in perspective, Saturn is actually more than 3,700 further away from us than the moon is!

Try and catch a glimpse of them​ before midnight, as they will have set below the horizon shortly before that.

Rings of Saturn

If you have a telescope, I'd highly recommend having a look at Saturn. With a basic telescope you can see the rings of Saturn, and with a more highly powered one, you can make out the different rings around the planet.

The rings are made of billions of small particles similar in size to small specks of dust to larger objects almost 30 feet across. They are either covered in, or made of water ice.

What's the bright star below Saturn?

A little below Saturn is Antares. Otherwise known as the heart of the scorpion (because of its position in the constellation Scorpius), it is also known as the rival of Mars. It's a huge supergiant stars that has a very distinct red colour, much more so than the yellowy/orange planet Mars. That's why Antares is known as Mars' rival.

In Greek, Antares means "anti Ares". Ares was the Greek name for the Roman named planet, Mars - hence it came to be known as Antares - anti-Mars (Mars' rival).

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Over to Mars

Over to the left, you'll see the famous red planet, Mars. Its colour is from the rusting iron oxide on the planets surface - much like a blood red colour. This led to the planet being named "Mars" after the Roman god of war.

On Friday night, the moon will be closer​ to Mars:

Moon Saturn Mars and Antares

Wrapping it all up...

Tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow night, look out for the moon in the south western sky. Look down to find Saturn, and Antares, and to the left to view the red planet, Mars. All highly visible to the naked eye.

All the best, Mark​

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