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Venice Update

News of Venice, CA and Marina del Rey CA

Two Pair of Planets Perform in the August Twilight

Bob Eklund Looking Up

Bob Eklund
Looking Up

 Step outside as the stars come out, look southwest, and you’ll see an eye-catching pattern. For the next few days, bright orange Mars shines to the right of Saturn and the reddish supergiant star Antares. The three form a tall triangle that changes every night.

Note: This story is from Sky and Telescope

Mars is moving leftward on its way toward passing between the other two. On August 23 and 24, the triangle shrinks down to a nearly vertical line of three shining points.

The three have nothing to do with each other. Mars is the nearest of them, 7 light-minutes from Earth (79 million miles). Saturn is almost a dozen times farther away: 82 light-minutes (914 million miles). Antares, the lowest of the three in the sky, is about 550 light-years in the background, or 3.3 quadrillion miles into deep space.

Meanwhile, the two brightest planets—Venus and Jupiter—are going through a dance of their own. They’re very low in the sky, due west after sunset. Look for them close to the horizon, somewhat left of where the Sun went down, 20 or 30 minutes after sunset. If you have a very low view and clear air, you’ll see that Venus and Jupiter are drawing closer together every evening. Venus is the lower one. On August 27th, they’ll have such a close conjunction that you may need binoculars to see that they’re two objects, not one!

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