For most of us, astronomy is a fascinating — but far-off — field of knowledge. We may look up at the night sky before we go to sleep, but few possess an actual in-depth understanding of what we are seeing. Sure, we can name the planets, but astronomical details and developments remain a mystery to most.
But for those that are hoping to broaden their horizons and expand their knowledge of the intricacies of the night sky, an astronomy magazine like SkyNews — Canada’s magazine of astronomy and stargazing — will be helpful for illuminating what exactly you’re looking up at. This magazine could explain, for example, how there are two groups of planets that populate the night sky this week. If you were paying attention, you might have been able to see the first group of planets, which is actually not that elusive to the naked eye. This group consists of both Mars and Saturn, which both make an appearance in the sky after midnight. As the twilight fades into darkness, these planets can be spotted in the sky approximately 5 and a half degrees apart, located in the south-southwest. These planets also form a bright, shining triangle with Antares, with Mars shining the brightest. On the other end of the spectrum is Mercury, Venus and Jupiter; a group of planets that appears closer to the horizon and can really only be spotted with a good pair of binoculars. Many amateur astronomers believe that a telescope is critical to see the night sky, but really, a pair of binoculars can reveal so many wonders previously hidden to the naked eye. Nebulas — otherwise known as star-forming regions, star clusters, and even the remnants of ancient Supernovas all make themselves visible if you’re looking at the sky through binoculars. However, even with the aid of binoculars, you can only see this group of planets if the horizon is completely clear.
It’s important to note just how bright Mars is shining at this current moment in time. As of right now, Mars is sitting a little lower than Saturn, and steadily moving east. This means that it won’t fall back into the glare of twilight until next spring.
Featured image source: SkyNews