Mars to light up the night sky
Wednesday, February 19, 2014, 9:30 AM -
Earlier this month, NASA released the first-ever view of our planet from the surface of Mars, but on February 19, night owls will have the opportunity to turn the tables, and view the red planet from Earth.
Weather permitting, the moon, Mars and blue-white star Spica (the brightest star in the constellation Virgo) will take centre stage in the night sky as they rise early-to-mid evening. The trio will stay out for the rest of the night and no matter where you are on Earth, they are highest up in the sky around 3 to 4 a.m. local time – so get those binoculars ready if you’re looking to enhance the experience.
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Mars alternates between good and bad viewing years, with 2014 being one of the best.
And perhaps the best part of it all is that you don’t have to be an astronomer to know which star-like object is which. Mars shines brighter than Spica and exhibits a steadier light. It is also reddish in colour, while Spica is blue-white.
So, now all you have to do is sit back and let the moon be your guide to Mars and Spica before dawn on Wednesday, February 19.