According to what was confirmed by the Astronomical Society in Jeddah, through its account on the social networking site “Twitter”, it is the occurrence of Mars near the Pleiades star cluster, and its date will be tomorrow, Wednesday, March 3.
The society confirmed that 2.6 degrees is the separation distance between the planet Mars and the Pleiades cluster on this night, which is their closest conjunction since January 20, 1991, with an estimated 30 years.
The head of the Astronomical Society in Jeddah stated that it will be easy to see Mars with the naked eye, despite its dimness compared to the past four months, pointing out that there is a need to use telescopes or photography to see the Pleiades star cluster near the red planet from within cities.
The president of the association added, on the association’s official Facebook page, that Mars is currently observed in the western horizon in the constellation Taurus near the red star Aldebaran, and it is easy to distinguish between them despite the relative similarity in color and brightness.
The upper red point (for the observer) is the star Aldebaran, while Mars will be below it and much closer to the Pleiades cluster.
He explained that one of the most prominent differences is also that Aldebaran shines by itself while Mars reflects sunlight, in addition to that Aldebaran and the Pleiades star cluster are “fixed” points of light in the constellation Taurus, but Mars is only a temporary visitor.
Abu Zahra added: In early March 2021, he will notice that the star of Aldebaran is brighter than Mars to the naked eye.
Mars is diminishing every day, which means that it is fainter than Aldebaran by the time it will pass 7 degrees north of Aldebaran on March 20, 2021, and by April 24, 2021 Mars will be fainter as it emerges from the constellation Taurus and enters the constellation of the Twins.
He pointed out that Mars is the fourth planet in terms of distance from the sun, and it takes about two years of Earth’s years to make a full circle in front of the constellations in the zodiac.
So usually Mars meets Pleiades every two years, however, as an exception, the next Mars coupling with Pleiades will happen next year (rather than the year after) on August 20, 2022.
This is because the conjunction of Wednesday occurs early this year, in addition to that there will be no retrograde motion of Mars between 2021 and 2022 and the conjunction of Mars and Pleiades, and after 2022, the conjunctions of Mars and Pleiades will occur every two years until March 14, 2036.
In rare cases, Mars has three associations with Pleiades over a period of about 4.7 months.
For this to happen, Mars must reach the encounter at a critical time, so that Mars can pass near the Pleiades as it moves forward (east in front of the stars in the zodiac), then backward (toward the west in front of the stars in the zodiac), and then return and move (East) Again, this happened in 1991-1990 and will be repeated again in 2038-2037.
The pairing will be available for astrophotography, as Mars and the Pleiades cluster are bright enough to be photographed with smartphones and digital cameras. With a 200mm focal length lens with an APS-C sensor digital camera, imaging is good.
It is worth noting that the conjunction of Mars and Pleiades this year will not occur at the same apparent distance again until February 4, 2038.