Use binoculars to catch Venus, Antares, effects of penumbral eclipse

2013-10-17T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T11:45:41Z Use binoculars to catch Venus, Antares, effects of penumbral eclipseBy Tim Hunter Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

If you missed the closest approach of Venus to Antares last night, do not despair. They will be very close together tonight.

Look toward the southwest at 6:30 p.m. to see  brilliant Venus 15 degrees above the horizon. Just below Venus, less than 2 degrees away, is Antares in the heart of Scorpius the Scorpion.

They should be a beautiful grouping in low power binoculars. Contrast the bright white of Venus with the red of Antares.

While Venus appears considerably brighter than Antares, it is a small planet slightly less than the size of the Earth. Antares is a supergiant star 550 light years away.

Venus looks so much brighter as its clouds reflect the light of the sun very well, and it is far closer to the Earth, ranging from 24 to 162 million miles away. At its farthest, Venus is about 15 light minutes from the Earth.

Friday night try to watch the moon with low power binoculars as it rises. The moon coming over the mountains is always a beautiful sight. You probably won’t be able to see the effects of the penumbral eclipse, but if you are lucky, you will notice a slight darkening on the southern (right) edge of the moon.

Astronomical twilight ends a little after 7 p.m. Look to the north (left) of the moon to find three bright stars which compose Aries the Ram. How Aries is supposed to resemble a ram is lost in history.

Contact Tim Hunter at skyspy@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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