Full Moon, Mars create celestial duo in Friday night’s sky

Posted at 9:30 AM, Jul 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 10:30:34-04

If you’ve paid attention to the sky over the past several nights, you might have seen the bright, orange-tinted “star” near the moon. But that’s not a star, it’s Mars.

Friday’s forecast

For Friday, not much will change from what we saw on Thursday—mostly sunny skies and highs in the 90s. We will be seeing a slight increase in moisture, which will likely bring in a few more clouds for Friday.

Full Moon and Mars

During the evening, we will have a full moon rising around sunset. This will be referred to as the Thunder Moon, and was likely named this because of frequent summertime thunderstorms. Beyond having a fun name, this will just be a typical full moon.

We will also have Mars in the sky tonight. It will be the brightest that we’ve seen it in 15 years, and it won’t be this bright again until 2035. It will rise in the east as the sun sets, and will basically follow the moon across the sky throughout the night. As your looking to the east just after sunset, Mars should appear just to the right of the moon as a red-tinted dot in the sky. The reason that the planet will appear so bright is that Mars and Earth are currently extra close to one another.

In order to get a good glimpse of it, you’ll want to wait until 9-10 o’clock, and even then it will still be fairly low on the horizon. The best viewing will be in areas with limited to no light pollution and with little obstruction on the eastern horizon. Of course, if you wait until 11 o’clock to midnight, the planet and full moon will be high in the sky, making for easier viewing.

The weekend

Partly cloudy skies and low 90s are in the forecast for the weekend. The breeze will become elevated by late Saturday, but beyond that, the weather will be very summer-like across South Texas. Besides the warm temperatures, this will be an ideal weekend for beach-goers and those with outdoor plans.