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Moon and Mars from late night until dawn

Tonight – February 28, 2018 – if you’re a night owl, staying up until midnight or later, you might catch the waning gibbous moon and red planet Mars climbing above your horizon. The early bird has the big advantage over the night owl, though, because the moon and Mars will be much higher up in the sky during the predawn and dawn hours on February 29.

And that’s not all. The morning person can view the planet Saturn and the ruddy star Antares as well. Antares is the brightest star in the constellation Scorpius.

Then, as darkness gives way to dawn, you might catch the planet Venus coming up shortly before the sun. At mid-northern latitudes, Venus rises an hour or less before the sun. Click here for recommended almanacs; they can help you find out Venus’ rising time in your sky.

Use the moon to find the planets Mars and Saturn, and the star Antares over the next several days. The green line depicts the ecliptic.

Use the moon to find the planets Mars and Saturn, and the star Antares over the next several days. The green line depicts the ecliptic.

If you’re up before dawn, draw an imaginary line from Mars through Saturn to locate Venus’ approximate rising point on the horizon. Given a level horizon, look for Venus to climb into the sky some 60 to 45 minutes before sunrise.

If you're not one for staying up late or getting up early, you can still see the dazzling planet Jupiter in the east at early evening. After rising, Jupiter will be out for rest of the night. Read more.

If you’re not one for staying up late or getting up early, you can still see the dazzling planet Jupiter in the east at early evening. After rising, Jupiter will be out for rest of the night. Read more.

For the next few nights, the waning gibbous moon and Mars light up the nighttime from late night until dawn.

Bruce McClure

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