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Mars glows red alongside Taurus the Bull

The Red Planet passes near the red giant star Aldebaran in the constellation Taurus the Bull.

RELATED TOPICS: CONSTELLATIONS | PLANETS
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In this photo, you can see Venus, Mars, the Pleiades, as well as the constellation Taurus. At the left, between the trees, is Capella. (Canon 400D digital SLR, 18mm lens at f/3.5, ISO 800, 25-second exposure) Miguel Claro took this image July 27, 2009, from Alentejo, Portugal.
Miguel Claro

Mars continues to add its ruby-red glow to the constellation Taurus the Bull this week. 

Shining at magnitude 1.6, the Red Planet appears slightly fainter than the constellation’s brightest star, ruddy 1st-magnitude Aldebaran. The planet lies about 25° above the western horizon an hour after sundown and doesn’t set until after 11 p.m. local daylight time. 

Once the sky darkens, you should notice that Mars is perched within the borders of the 6th-magnitude open star cluster NGC 1746. Because the cluster is big — its diameter is slightly larger than the Full Moon — you’ll want to use binoculars or a telescope at low power for the best views. 

Unfortunately, Mars spans only 4" and won’t show any detail.

For more observing targets, follow our regular The Sky This Week column. 

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