As we’ve reported recently, there is a lot happening on Mars right now! The US and China have both landed rovers on Mars, and the UAE has a new Martian orbiter as well, all carrying out scientific observations. You can follow along with the latest online with some of the links below.
Meanwhile, March also offers a good opportunity to see the planet Mars in the sky for yourself. Mars appears in the evening sky right now, and this week you can see it in conjunction with the Pleiades star cluster. This is their closest conjunction in 20 years, and the closest they’ll be in the sky again until 2038. Of course, Mars is nowhere near the Pleiades in space, it’s practically our next-door neighbor; but the conjunction makes for a spectacular light show in the sky.
The Pleiades are cluster of young, bright stars over 400 light years away. They’re often referred to as the “Seven Sisters,” although there are more than seven of them – in a dark sky with clear air you might be able to pick out a dozen separate points of light with your eye, and telescopes have spotted hundreds of dimmer ones adding to the mass of the cluster.
Also, if you’re out in the early morning this month, keep an eye out for three other bright spots: Mercury, Jupiter, and Saturn may all be visible low on the horizon near sunrise. Read more at EarthSky.org.
And remember to watch for the latest news from Mars! Check out these links, and watch for articles tagged "space" here on the blog!