Mars and the Lion above Kurdistan
As seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day the Red Planet, Mars, appears in close conjunction with bright star Regulus at the Leo’s heart, both shining at magnitude 1 but with great color contrast. Toward the east along the ecliptic, Saturn is another bright planet visible in this view at the border of Virgo and Leo. Click on the constellation icon above the image to view labels and figures. The photograph is taken from Oraman (Hewraman, originated from Ahura, the old Persian word for God in Zoroastrian), a mountainous region of Kurdistan in western Iran which has unique ancient villages, home to Kurdish (Kurds) people. Some areas in the region have been sacred pilgrimage sites for believers of Zoroastrianism since before the advent of Islam. This valley is only few kilometers from the Kurdistan of Iraq and faint light glow from the Kurd villages on the other side of border are visible above the western mountains. While the area was the scene of devastating war between Iraq and Iran over 2 decades ago its now in peace under starry sky.