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Moon, red supergiant star Antares rise late on April 17-18

Moon,, Saturn and Antares from midnight till dawn April 18 Read more

Tonight is Apr 17, 2014

Moon Phase Courtesy U.S. Naval Observatory
Look in the southwest sky before dawn April 18 to see the moon, Saturn and Antares

Look in the southwest sky before dawn April 18 to see the moon, Saturn and Antares

Draw an imaginary line from the moon through Saturn to catch the planet Mars and star Spica. What is the ecliptic?

Draw an imaginary line from the moon through Saturn to catch the planet Mars and star Spica. What is the ecliptic?

The waning gibbous moon and the red supergiant star Antares won’t rise till around midnight, or later, on April 17-18 (at mid-northern latitudes). Once they’re up, however, they’ll be out for rest of the night. At mid-northern latitudes, the moon and Antares will rise in the east a few hours after the planet Saturn does. Last night, on April 16, the moon had lodged much closer to the ringed planet Saturn.

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If you’re more of an early bird than a night owl, you can still catch the waning gibbous moon and Antares in the western part of the sky before dawn on April 18. In addition, you can see the planets Saturn and Mars, and the star Spica, beneath the moon and Antares. And in the eastern predawn/dawn sky, you can behold dazzling Venus, the most brilliant planet of them all.

For those who don’t like to stay up late or wake up early, there is still a wonderful treat awaiting you at nightfall: the planets Jupiter and Mars. Jupiter, the brighter of these two brilliant worlds, is easily the brightest star-like object in the evening sky. From northerly latitudes, this giant world hangs high in the south to southwest at dusk and nightfall. From south of the equator, Jupiter appears in the northern sky as darkness falls.

The other planet popping out at dusk is Mars, which is found in the east at early evening. So seek out these two brilliant beauties – Jupiter and Mars – as soon as darkness falls.

And if you’re willing to stay up late, or wake up early, use the moon to find the star Antares tonight!