Across Australia, catch Mars and Saturn around 8 pm local time.Source: Museum Victoria/Stellarium
By Tanya Hill, Museum Victoria
Look up at the night sky this week and you’ll find Mars and Saturn together in the west. Mars stands out with its reddish colouring and you might just be able to detect a faint yellow tinge to Saturn.
The two planets have been slowly drifting towards each other and now Mars makes its dash to move past Saturn.
Claws of justice
In ancient times the scorpion’s claws extended out towards the region where Mars and Saturn are currently seen.
The faint star between the two planets is known by the fantastic arabic name Zubenelgenubi or ‘the southern claw’. It’s partner, ‘the northern claw’, is the star found below Saturn and is called Zubeneschamali.Gerard Mercator
It was the Romans, during the reign of Julius Caesar, who broke off the Scorpion’s claws and turned them into the symbol of justice, which we know as the constellation of Libra the scales.
If you keep a watch each night, you should notice that Mars will be drifting closer to Scorpius. And on Sunday August 31 and Monday September 1, you can catch the moon as it passes by that way too.Museum Victoria/Stellarium
Tanya Hill does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.