Mars Moon and Meteor Shower in Sky Before Sunrise on Friday

A few hours before sunrise on Friday (October 21) with the Orionid meteor will be poossible to see moon. The moon will appear about 37 percent illuminated Friday morning, but it won’t be alone. Shining near the moon like a bright, yellowish-orange star will be the planet Mars just 10 degrees to the moon’s lower left. Mars currently shines at magnitude +1.2 on the reverse scale. On that scale, the lower an object’s magnitude the brighter it appears, so Mars is currently a bit fainter than the nearby star Pollux in the constellation Gemini (the Twins).You can find the Red Planet rising from out of the east-northeast at around 1:30 a.m. local daylight time. Meanwhile, the Orionid meteor shower is nearing its peak.

The shooting star display will peak before sunrise on October 22. Mars will continue to come closer to Earth with each passing day, and consequently continues to brighten, although it continues to be a slow process. On Friday morning, Mars is still a good distance from us at 155 million miles (249 million kilometers), a little less than 14 light-minutes from Earth. By next month, the brightening process will begin to increase noticeably, and by next March, Mars will be just slightly dimmer than Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. The moon’s distance from us is decreasing much more rapidly than that of Mars. On Friday morning, it will be about 233,000 miles (375,000 km) away. But come next Wednesday (October 26), we’ll have a new moon, which will also coincide with the day of perigee, the moon’s closest approach to Earth each month. At that point, Earth’s nearest neighbor will be just 221,862 miles (357,035 km) away.