Skywatch: Jupiter is easy to spot as Mars shines brightly this week


If you’re out on Sunday night, spotting Jupiter will be very easy. Look in the southern sky at the moon. To the right of it, you’ll see what looks like a bright star. That’s the largest planet in the solar system! Just below the moon, Antares will sit. It’s the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius and, if it was in our solar system, the edge of it would fall between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter!

If you look in the southern sky on Tuesday evening, just below the moon will sit Saturn shining brightly. The planet reached opposition last month so it’s still very prominent in the sky.

Courtesy: NASA

Speaking of planetary oppositions, Mars reaches one this week. At 1 a.m. Friday morning, the red planet will be opposite the sun as observed from here on Earth. This is when Mars is shining brightest, and you may have noticed it in the previous weeks.

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Look for Mars and the moon in the southeastern sky after sunset. Mars will be just below and left of the moon and will be visible all night long throughout the southern sky. The planet actually outshines Jupiter, and this is the brightest it’s been in our sky in about 15 years.

The Full Buck Moon arrives Friday afternoon at 4:20 p.m. Named so because the buck’s antlers are growing strong this time of year. It’s also called the Full Thunder Moon because of all the thunderstorms that occur in July.

This full moon can also be called a Full Blood Moon in some areas. A total lunar eclipse takes place with this Full Moon as the Earth passes between the sun and our satellite, and a shadow will be cast across the lunar surface giving it a blood red color. At one hour and 43 minutes, this will be the “longest total lunar eclipse” of the century! Sadly, we won’t be able to see it but will live stream the event. Happy hunting!