Aldebaran is considered a supergiant star that has a clearly reddish hue to it from the sky. It’s one of the easiest stars to identify and should make for a spectacular scene when combined with Mars and the light of the Moon.
The giant star is one of the 15 brightest of its kind. In fact, Aldebaran is much larger than Earth’s Sun and 400 times brighter as well. In addition, the star is even brighter than the planet Mars. The “Red Planet” has an apparent visual magnitude of +1.2. Yet Aldebaran will shine with a visual magnitude of +1 this week, just slightly brighter than Mars.
Those who catch a glimpse of the rare alignment in the night sky will see two distinct red-orange specks of light side by side. Here’s when and where to watch the epic night sky event. Additionally, we’ll share how to watch it during the two-night spectacle.
Mars and Aldebaran Align (Sort of): When and Where to Watch
This weekend, viewers will get their best chance of seeing the night sky event. Aldebaran and Mars will appear close to each other all week, so any night with clear skies you’ll have a chance to see them both.
On Friday, March 19, you’ll be able to see a 35%-illuminated crescent Moon right above Mars and Aldebaran. They’ll form a triangle of sorts that evening.
The next day, on Saturday night, viewers will get their closest and best view of the week. You’ll be able to view a 45% near-first quarter Moon, which will rest higher above Mars and Aldebaran. Furthermore, the celestial pairing will sit between the horns of Taurus the bull – the stars Elnath and Zeta Tauri.
Make sure to go outside anytime after dark on Friday evening and look toward the southwestern sky to view the rare event.
How To Watch The Rare Night Sky Event
Now that you know when and where to see this weekend’s celestial event, you’ll be glad to know you can view the night scenes with the naked eye. Telescopes and binoculars are not necessary to view Aldebaran come into view with Mars and the Moon.
However, if you have a pair of binoculars or a telescope, you’ll be able to see the event even better. You may even be able to get them both in the same field of view. Take advantage while you can this weekend to see the rare night sky sighting because it won’t be around long.
By the end of March, and throughout the next two months, Mars will travel above and past the Orion constellation. On June 6, Mars is scheduled to directly align with Castor and Pollux – two of the brightest stars in the Gemini constellation.
With Earth now lapping Mars during its trek around our Sun, we’ll be moving further away from the “Red Planet.” That means its red coloring will become fainter and fainter each passing day. By October of this year, it will disappear altogether from our view of the night sky altogether.