Watching the Skies: Moon passes Mars this week

Watching The Skies

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The waxing moon will pass by Mars through the middle of this week ahead of the full moon next week.

On the evenings of Jan. 19 through Jan. 21, look to the south to see the moon and Mars. Mars will be above the moon all three evenings.

Mars is nowhere close to appearing as bright as it was last fall. Still, it will be easily visible with the naked eye. You may be able to see Uranus below Mars, though it is currently about 150 times less bright than Mars. The two planets will be in conjunction on Jan. 20.

The week ahead looks fairly cloudy, but any clearing during the evening or early morning will allow us to see some planets. Mercury will be low in the west-southwest shortly after sunset. Venus shines in the morning, low in the southeast about half an hour before the sun comes up. Mars will be near the moon in the south at twilight.

Jupiter and Saturn are getting more and more difficult to see. In fact, Saturn will likely not be visible at all this week; it is lost in the glare of the sun as it sets. Binoculars may help you pick out Jupiter, which will be in the west just after sunset.

The first quarter moon will be on Jan. 20, meaning the moon will appear half full.

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