"How to Use Mars to Find the Two Most Tongue-Twisting Stars in the Cosmos"

Scheduled air date: 1999 Aug 16-22

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As the planet Mars crosses from the constellation Libra into Scorpius this month, you can use it to help locate the two brightest stars in Libra, Zubeneschamali and Zubenelgenubi.   These two star names are Arabic for "The Northern Claw" and "The Southern Claw," respectively, and date back to when they were considered part of Scorpius—before the Romans used them in their constellation Libra, the Scales.

Zubenelgenubi is about 65 light years from us and 25 times brighter than our own Sun, while Zubeneschamali is about 140 light years from us and over 150 times as bright as the Sun!
(Shown about 30 minutes after sunset for mid-Northern latitudes.  Mars' positions are shown at five-day intervals from the 16th through 31st.)

If you wish to view illustrations for other episodes, please see our Star Gazer Illustrated directory.


Illustrations on this page were created using TheSky Astronomy Software, an advanced desktop planetarium program designed for Windows.

Copyright 1999-2006 by Software Bisque, Inc.