Lyra the Harp shines high in the northeast during the early evening hours. Highlighting this compact constellation is one of the heaven’s brightest stars, Vega. This star is nicknamed the Arc Lamp of the Skies for its intense blue-white color.
Red Mars reaches its closest point towards the Earth tonight and early tomorrow morning. The planet rises about sunset in the southeast and is so bright that it currently outshines Jupiter. Telescopes will allow a glimpse of dark markings on the planet and a peek at its polar icecap. This is the closest approach towards the Earth in the last 15 years.
Looking at Mars through a telescope requires patience; you’re not only looking through the Earth’s atmosphere but also the atmosphere of Mars. Only when the atmospheres of both planets are settled down will you get best views.
To the right and above Mars shines pale gold Saturn. The beautiful rings that surround the planet can be seen easily in small telescopes.
Bright yellow Jupiter glows high in the south at sunset. Like Saturn, a series of colorful bands can be seen traveling across its atmosphere when using small telescopes. The planet’s four largest moons can be observed even in binoculars.
The moon reaches last-quarter phase on Saturday. This is a good time to search for craters and surface features. On Saturday morning the moon will glow to the southeast of dim graygreen Uranus.