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Skywatch: Watch for meteors & Mars this week

Mars reaches a milestone this week.
Credit: Courtesy: NASA

If Mars has seemed a little brighter in recent days there’s a reason for that. It’ll reach something known as opposition next week but on Tuesday Mars and the Earth will be closer to each other than they will be for the next 15 years. 

At 10 a.m. the Red Planet will be 38.6 miles from us. The next time it’ll pass by that close to us will be in September of 2035.

Credit: Mars & the Moon Meet Up

Mars will be in the eastern sky in the evening. If you can wait until after 10:30 use the moon to help you find it.

The pair will be in the east-northeastern to southeastern sky. Mars will be above and right of our satellite.

Credit: The Draconid Meteor Shower

If you’re out in the evening looking for Mars look for meteors as well. The Draconid meteor shower will be active much of the week and is expected to peak on Wednesday evening. 

Most meteor showers peak in the early morning hours but this one is best in the early evening. The shower is caused by the comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner and it’s not a particularly active meteor shower. 

In a good year, you’re lucky to see five to maybe ten meteors per hour. Look for the shower’s radiant in the constellation Draco in the northwest to overhead in the evening. 

As always you’ll want to find a dark spot, far away from the city lights, for the best viewing.

Credit: Last Quarter Moon

The Last Quarter Moon arrives late in the week as well. It’ll officially be here Friday night at 8:40 p.m. Moonrise is just after midnight. Happy hunting!