Astronomy Question: Was That Mars?

I was out last night for an (almost) full moon paddle on the Hudson River. As I was paddling, I noticed an object, and I’m wondering if it was Mars. It was to the right of the moon, and bright enough that the (almost) full moon didn’t overwhelm it. It seemed to keep pace with the moon as it rose (this was from about 11:00 p.m until midnight).

More likely to be Venus than Mars - the third brightest object in the sky after the sun and the moon…



Grim, Venus is never visible at midnight. Ever.

Mars is at the moment getting very close to Earth, closer that’s ever been for thousands of years and at the moment it is very bright in the sky, roughly as bright as Venus. You should be able to see it in the sky as the bright rusty-coloured ‘star’ next to the moon.

Venus at midnight
-At the north pole.

I’m tempted to try to find an exception to this; after all, there are places on the Earth where the sun is visible at midnight sometimes.

Darn you Squink! Darn you straight to flipping heck!

Visible at midnight or no, Venus will never appear to be close to the full moon.

Definitely Mars. I was looking at it last night, maybe about 7 or 8 moon widths away from the moon (at a guess). Quite spectacular through a telescope - you can see the ice caps :slight_smile:

Smartass. When I went for lunch earlier, I just knew someone was gonna mention the poles.

Temptation can be terribly hard to resist.
Should I end up consigned to Heck for this, I’ll be sure to mention your name. :stuck_out_tongue:

My wife scored a 12.5 inch telescope for three months… so tonight or tomorrow night we are checking out Mars… I cannot wait

Quite right. The basic point is that to an earthbound observer Venus will always appear fairly near the Sun, whereas a full moon rather obviously cannot do so.

Thanks for the confirmation, everyone.

In the link Q.E.D. provided, it says in 6 weeks that Mars will be 2 1/2 times brighter than now. Now that’s going to be worth a look!

The link is also dated July 15th, which would make the bright time 2 weeks from now.

It’s going to be hard to miss!

:smack: - that will teach me to read the whole OP before responding

:smack: :smack: - that will teach me to type without thinking!! I blame it all on living in London for the last 4 years (almost) - I have probably seen the stars less than half-a-dozen times in that time, and you just stop thinking about them. Two perfectly logical reasons why it wasn’t Venus and I fall into the “bright object = Venus” hole. :o

[sup]::hides Astrophysics Class Medal in shame::[/Sup]

No, QED is correct for all intents and purposes. I trust the OP was not making his observations from the Poles. For latitudes where most of humanity inhabits the Earth, Venus will not be observed in the sky so late at night. In general, the majority of all astronomical data (tables, charts, etc.) are geared for +40 latitude, folks. QED is correct because this IS understood - as we understand that the OP was not making his observations at the Poles.

Also, you’ll recall from elementary school that Venus is considered an “evening star” or “morning star”. This nickname IS no mistake. Also, I’ve never seen a red Venus!?

As confirmed, the OP’s observations and time of observation makes it undoubtedly Mars. The only other object often confused for Mars is Antares, in Scorpio (Scorpius). By the way, the star’s name (from the Greek God of War, Ares) means “rival of Ares” or “rival of Mars”, the Roman God of War.

  • Jinx