Moon approaching Mars on July 14-16

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Tonight – July 14, 2016 – and for the next couple of evenings, you can’t miss the waxing gibbous moon as darkness falls. Use the moon to guide you to two planets – Mars and Saturn – plus the bright star Antares over the next few nights.

A waxing gibbous moon appears high in the east at sunset. It’s more than half-lighted, but less than full.

Mars is brighter than Saturn, and Saturn is brighter than Antares.

The Red Planet is fainter now than it was a month ago, but it’s still a sight to behold.

Because Mars and Saturn are planets, they shine by reflecting the light of the sun. Antares, being a star, shines by its own light.

There’s a third planet in the July, 2016 sky. Look westward after darkness falls to view the largest world in our solar system, Jupiter.

Dazzling Jupiter – brighter now than Mars, and much brighter than Saturn – will set in the west by around mid-evening. Be sure to view this world at nightfall. Meanwhile, the moon, Mars and Saturn (plus the star Antares) will stay out until well after midnight.

Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are called superior planets because they orbit the sun outside of Earth’s orbit. Mars is the fourth planet outward from the sun, whereas Jupiter is the fifth, and Saturn the sixth.

2016.07.14 / 13:59
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