Sunday February 7th the position of the planet Mars, with respect to the Earth and the Sun, places this planet at what is called western quadrature. At that orbital position Mars, and actually any outer planet at their respective quadrature, is at a 90 degree angle from the Earth as this graphic shows, and the banner graphic at the top of the page shows. Think last quarter Moon as that is a fair comparison of the relative positions of Earth, Sun, and Mars. At this position Mars leads the Sun across the sky from east to west as the Earth is rotating, meaning that Mars rises before the Sun.
Sunday morning finds Mars and the other visible planets spread across the morning skies from east to west.
This is a short video clip about Mars from a much longer video that I made as part of a live musical performance called “Orbit” at the Gottleib Planetarium in Kansas City Missouri during May 2011.
Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.