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Menopausal Mother Nature

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See Mars and Pleiades on August 10, morning

Star chart with green line of ecliptic, Mars, and other objects of interest.
Red Mars is rising in the wee hours now, getting noticeably brighter as Earth pulls up behind it in our smaller, faster orbit around the sun. We’ll pass between the sun and Mars in December. Around the morning of August 10, you’ll find Mars and the Pleiades star cluster – aka the 7 Sisters – high in the eastern sky. Mars forms an intriguing right triangle with the Pleiades and the bright red star Aldebaran on the morning of August 10. They all lie near the noticeable pattern of easy-to-spot constellation Orion the Hunter. Chart via John Jardine Goss / EarthSky.

Look for Mars and Pleiades in the morning sky

On the morning of August 10, 2022, look for bright, reddish Mars in the sunrise direction and near the beautiful Pleiades star cluster. Also nearby is another red point of light, Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus the Bull. On the 10th, Mars, Pleiades and Aldebaran form a right triangle.

Mars is currently getting closer, bigger and brighter as it races toward opposition on December 8, 2022. On August 10, 2022, Mars is shining at +0.11 magnitude and has an angular size of 8.69 arcseconds. Reddish Aldebaran is a variable star that shines between 0.75 and 0.95 magnitude, so it won’t appear as bright as Mars right now. However, there are times Mars is way brighter than Aldebaran, and other times it is dimmer. When Mars is at its closest to Earth, it shines at -2.94 magnitude. And when Mars is farthest from Earth, it shines at a +1.86 magnitude. What a difference distance makes in the brightness of our neighboring planet!

Also, Orion is below them in the sky. Big, bright and very obvious, Orion is visible from anywhere on Earth.

Pleiades – or the 7 Sisters – is a favorite asterism

The Pleiades star cluster – also known as the Seven Sisters or Messier 45 – is a delicate, glimmering cluster of stars that resembles a tiny dipper. In fact, people sometimes mistake it for the Little Dipper. Pleiades is an asterism – a well known group of stars – so it is not an official constellation.

Bottom line: On the morning of August 10, 2022, Mars and the Pleiades star cluster are close together in the morning sky. The bright red star Aldebaran is nearby, and all three of them form a right triangle.

For more great observing events in the coming weeks, visit EarthSky’s night sky guide

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