Venus-Mars | Orion & Friends | Pleiades

Venus has been gracing the morning pre-dawn sky for several weeks. It raced past Earth in its orbit around the Sun and is receding from us quickly. It will pass behind the Sun early in 2018 before emerging as an evening apparition.

Mars is positioned farther away from us than Venus and nearly along the same line of sight. On 5 October, early morning risers can see the two nearest to each other. Look at about 6 am low in the eastern sky on a clear morning. Binoculars will help spot dim Mars. It appears we will suffer from cloudy skies here in the midwest.

This morning I was up early and looked for Venus. It was hidden by low clouds to the east. I waited and was able to see both Venus and Mars emerge from the clouds. Notice the faint outline of a tree on the right side of the image. All images have been slightly modified to make them more easily viewed. They look best enlarged on a monitor screen. You might not see anything on a phone or tablet.


While waiting, I looked up to the south. There was Orion standing tall surrounded by several familiar neighbors. Below the image is a screenshot from Stellarium desktop software labeling many of those neighbors.


I looked very high to the west and found the small Seven Sisters star cluster Pleiades. These middle-aged hot stars each emit a beautiful blue color indicative of their temperatures.



5 thoughts on “Venus-Mars | Orion & Friends | Pleiades

    • I agree that Orion is a fine sight. It stands so tall and recognizable. It is like a friend returning after being gone a few months.

  1. Orion’s one of the first constellations I learned. It’s still one of my favorites, although it’s much lower here than it was in Iowa, and not nearly so visible because of our haze and such. I’m always trotting off in the fall or spring. This year, I’m not able to travel this fall, so maybe a winter trip would be good, just for some star-gazing. I’m not sure I’d want to go all the way to serious cold country, but north or west texas wouldn’t be too bad.

    Dry and clear would be good enough, right about now. The humidity still is well beyond uncomfortable — “thick” is the word that comes to mind.

    • The fall is a good time for star viewing. It gets dark earlier. The sky is more often clear with good seeing. And, it isn’t too cold or buggy.

      Do take a trip out of town. You know as well as anyone that there are treasures to be found when you travel.

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