Sky Shows
by Maya del Mar

Are you noticing that great bright light in the western sky in the evening? It looks too bright to be a planet or a star. But it is indeed Venus, showing off her jewels. This is the brightest we have seen her for eight years. Venus will remain high and brilliant until mid-March, when she turns retrograde and begins her process of slipping to the other side of the sun and becoming a morning star.

Jupiter and Saturn have been travelling in tandem for most of the last year, and visible in the sky for much of the night. They have been hanging around Taurus, the Bull, and are now close to the Pleiades. Jupiter is white and bright, brighter than the stars around it. Saturn, close to Jupiter, is much duller and yellower. Now, in the early evening, I can see them straight above me.

They have just turned direct, still in tandem. But faster Jupiter will now be moving on and putting distance between them. They will not be together again for another 20 years. Catch them together this month while you still can.

It’s easy to locate Jupiter and Saturn on the night of Feb. 1, for Moon is near them.

We also have a bright morning planet. Red Mars rises very early in the morning and moves across the ecliptic, low in the south at this time. Early risers can see it in the southern sky, above and to the right of Scorpius. Scorpius has a dominant red star called Antares, one of the four ancient "royal" stars, and Mars is slowly moving towards it, brightening as it progresses.

"Antares" means "against Ares," and Ares is another name for Mars. The sign Aries is named for Mars. Antares is often associated with aggression and violence in chart placements. It is prominent in the U.S. chart.

The plot thickens. Red Planet Mars will coincide with the longitude of red star Antares during the first half of March. Their longitudes will match on March 9, the day on which Venus turns retrograde in the constellation of Aries. Mars is the quintessential warrior, and Aries is the warrior sign.

We can see it all in the sky—in the early morning the two boxers mixing it up in the ring, and in the evening Venus as cheerleader urging them on. But then on March 9 Venus does stop in her tracks. Perhaps the whole spectacle has gotten out of hand.

We all have a ringside seat as this drama unfolds. See it now!

Last Quarter Moon is near Mars on the morning of February 15.