Planetary Close Encounters #2 – Mars


February 1st, 2016

The last quarter Moon appears close to Mars in the sky this morning. This is a relatively close pairing that should provide for an attractive sight in the hours before the dawn. The Moon appears close to Saturn on the 3rd and will pass Venus on the 6th.

While you’re staring at Mars, look out for Zuben Elgenubi, just to the lower right of the red planet. With binoculars or a telescope with low power and you’ll see the star is actually a pair of white stars with one being about 1 1/2 times brighter than the other.

Adapted from 2016: The Night Sky Sights (available in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom) and 2016: An Astronomical Year (available in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.)


All Astronomical Events for February 1st, 2016

03:27 UT – Last Quarter Moon (Libra, pre-dawn sky.)

10:38 UT – The last quarter Moon is north of Mars. (Mars: 90% illuminated, magnitude 0.8, diameter 6.8”. Libra, pre-dawn sky. See details above.)

12:24 UT – Mercury is 50% illuminated. (Magnitude 0.1, diameter 7.5”. Sagittarius, pre-dawn sky.)


Events in bold involve objects and/or events that are visible with the naked eye.

All times are in Universal Time (UTC). To convert the time to your timezone, click here. Night sky simulations created using Mobile Observatory for Android devices.

2016 An Astronomical Year Paperback Cover 2016 The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac 2015-2019 Kindle Cover - Deep Sky Observer's Guide

Easy Things to See With a Small Telescope

2016: An Astronomical Year 2016: The Night Sky Sights The Astronomical Almanac (2015-2019) The Deep Sky Observer’s Guide

(Kindle & Paperback)

(Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback) (Kindle & Paperback)


Amazon – US

Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US Amazon – US
Amazon – UK Amazon – UK  Amazon – UK Amazon – UK

Amazon – UK

Details of all available books across the world can be found here or by visiting the author’s page on Amazon. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at astronomywriter “at”


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