¡SkyCaramba! Weekly Astronomy Blog For August 23 to 29, 2015
Look for Mars in the morning this week and next. On the morning of August 23, it’s just below the Beehive Cluster. As the Beehive rises a little earlier each morning, the red planet drops below it. The Beehive is a cluster of stars in Cancer.
The cluster’s Latin name is Praesepe which means manger. The stars just north and south of Praesepe are known as the northern and southern donkeys or Asellus Borealis and Asellus Australis, respectively. To the naked eye, Praesepe looks like a blurry patch of light. So in naked eye star lore, it might as well be a manger that animals eat from.
But in binoculars or a telescope, you can see dozens or hundreds of stars. The bigger the telescope and the darker your sky, the more stars you’ll see. It reminds many observers of a bunch of busy bees. Praesepe’s stars are about 577 light years away.
As the week goes by, you’ll see Venus rising sooner each day a little below Mars. Mars will be north of a star named Acubens while Venus is south of it. The two planets appear closest together ...