Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tonight's Sky for July 13: Mars Meets Spica

Tonight, the Red Planet Mars, fourth from the Sun, will come within about a degree of bright blue star Spica, alpha star of the Zodiac constellation Virgo. The best news is that this is a naked eye event that can be seen simply by going out and looking up. To see the pairing, go out and look low in the Southwestern sky for a pairing of 'stars' about an hour and a half after sunset. The blue star is Spica and the red one is Mars. As an interesting aside, this provides a great opportunity to observe color contrasts in the night sky as, despite a star being described as 'yellow,' 'blue,' or 'red,' these differences aren't often clear to a beginning observer unless contrasting objects are right next to each other.  

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