Mars is back on display, now visible shortly after sunset in the eastern sky. During the month of January it will reach "opposition" when it appears exactly opposite the Sun in the sky. At opposition Mars is also at closest approach to Earth (and is therefore at its brightest for the year). It shines a distinctive red-orange color especially when compared to the stars in Leo and Cancer that surround it. Through binoculars or a telescope Mars appears as a small colorful dot of light. This week the Moon serves as a guide for locating Mars.
In 2005 I began writing a column for the San Francisco Waldorf School newsletter called "The Urban Astronomer." I started this blog in 2007 as a place to archive my articles and to offer additional insights on the night sky - even if you live in a big city. In 2008 I became an occasional guest on the KFOG Morning Show, and more recently on KALW and KGO. Archived shows are posted on the blog. I conduct private star parties for special events and corporate events. Contact me for details.