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Skywatch: Mars hits a milestone this week

The Red Planet reaches opposition on Tuesday.
Credit: Venus & the Moon

Venus will shine brightly in the mornings this week. It’s known as “Morning Star” because it’s the last point of light visible in the mornings. When it’s in the evening sky it’s the first one out & we call it the “Evening Star”. 

Look in east before sunrise to find it. On Tuesday it’ll be right below the Waning Crescent Moon.

Credit: Courtesy: NASA

Tuesday evening Mars will reach a milestone. It’ll be at opposition meaning it’s opposite the sun when observed from Earth. 

As a result, the planet will shine brightly. Look low in the western sky before sunrise to find it. It’ll look like a star with a reddish hue.

Credit: The New Moon

We’ll see a darker sky this week because the New Moon is on its way arriving on Friday at 3:31 p.m.

Credit: Courtesy: NASA

That darker sky will make it easier to find something known as “false dawn”. The zodiacal light is an almost pyramid shaped pillar of light near the horizon. 

It’s made up of space dust illuminated by the sun. The best time to see it is about an-hour-and-a-half to two hours before sunrise in the east. 

You’ll need to be in a dark spot, far away from the city for the best chance of seeing it. Happy hunting!