If you’re up and about before dawn on Saturday – January 25, 2014 – look for the moon. The brightest object near it is the planet Saturn. Both are in front of the constellation Libra the Scales. Follow the links below to learn more about what you can see in Saturday’s predawn sky.
What to see in Libra the Scales. Saturn and the moon are bright. It’ll be more of a challenge to spot Libra’s two brightest stars, its alpha star, Zubenelgenubi and its beta star Zubeneschamali. Unlike Saturn, these stars aren’t among the brightest in the sky. But both are bright enough to see with the unaided eye in a moderately dark sky. Can’t see them in your city sky, or in the light of the waning crescent moon? Try scanning with binoculars.
To double your fun, look at Zubenelgenubi with binoculars or through a low-powered telescope sometime. It’s actually an optical double and probably a binary star – two stars revolving around a common center of mass.
Also, if you have a telescope, enjoy some real eye candy and behold Saturn’s glorious rings.
The brighter of the two is the planet Mars, found above the moon and Saturn on Saturday morning, and in the vicinity of Spica, the constellation Virgo’s brightest star.
The moon, Saturn, Mars and the stars Antares, Spica and Zubenelgenubi can help you to envision the ecliptic – the pathway of the sun, moon and planets.
The brightest of all, Venus, shortly before dawn. As darkness begins to give way to dawn – or around 75 to 60 minutes before sunrise – watch for the dazzling planet Venus to enter into the southeast sky. Although the planets and stars will fade into the encroaching morning twilight, let the moon be your guide to Venus. The bow of the waning crescent moon points downward, to Venus’s place by the horizon.
Bottom line: Get up before dawn to see the grand vista of the moon, Saturn, Mars, Spica, Antares and Venus adorning the sky in the predawn hours on Saturday, January 25.