Thursday, December 3, 2020
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Starwatch: the Red Planet puts on a brilliant show as the moon passes by | Science

Starwatch: the Red Planet puts on a brilliant show as the moon passes by | Science
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Starwatch 23 November 2020 Moon and Mars

Over the next few nights the waxing moon slides past Mars in the eastern sky. If you have yet to find the Red Planet, the moon proves a handy signpost. The chart shows the view looking east from London at 17:00 GMT on 25 November.

Although now more than a month past its closest approach to both the sun and the earth, Mars continues to shine with vivid brilliance. It will be unmistakable even against the glare of the moon. On 25 November it will 81.5% illuminated, placing it in a waxing gibbous phase. For a day or so on each side of this date, the moon will still be in reasonable proximity to Mars. Following it over those days provides a chance to witness the moon’s nightly change in both position and phase.

From the southern hemisphere, the pair dominates the northern sky by mid-evening. The moon and Mars will appear above Pisces, which in turn will appear above the constellations of Pegasus and Andromeda.



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