Skywatch: Use the planets to help you find a massive star

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When skies clear out this week you can use the moon to help you locate a few planets this week as it wanes to a crescent. The Last Quarter Moon will arrive at 10:54 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Use the moon to help you locate Mars and Jupiter on Thursday morning. I’ll sit nearly halfway between the two planets in the morning sky.

Mars will be below and left of the moon with a reddish hue and Jupiter will shine brighter just below and right of the moon.

Courtesy: European Southern Observatory

Just below the three you’ll find Antares. Not only is Antares the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpio but it’s also the 15th-brightest star in the sky.

While it’s exact size isn’t known it’s believed that if placed where our sun is in the solar system it would stretch to somewhere between Mars and Jupiter! The red supergiant is a little more than 600 light-years from us and has a reddish hue.

The star is also “nearing the end of its life” and is expected to explode into a massive supernova when it eventually dies. Hopefully this background will make observing the famous star in the night sky that much more enjoyable the next time you see it. Happy hunting!