Got a clear sky tonight 31 January 2017? If you’re lucky enough to get a break in the cloud cover cast your eyes westwards for a giant kooky smile in the sky at about 6pm! Venus, Mars and a thin crescent moon are all gathered in the same part of the sky early evening. You’ll have a window of a couple of hours – Venus sets at around about 8pm UK time.
The Moon, Venus and Mars – a special gathering!
Imagine taking a rocket trip out to our celestial trio tonight. First we’d reach the moon. At just 377,000 kilometres away on 31 January the Moon is the closest object to us of the three. The moon orbits the earth every 28 days (or thereabouts). This means that every night we see the moon move across a chunk of sky on its orbit. Tonight we have a waxing moon, meaning that it is growing fuller in the sky each night. Next full moon is on 10/11 February 2017 when we’ll see it rise in the east at nightfall.
Leaving the moon behind we’ll next reach Venus – the brightest planet in our night sky. It’s so bright ...