South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Movies - Send stargaz­ing ques­tions re­ports and ex­pe­ri­ence to thes­tarsthisweek

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.

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