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Thread: Viewing Mars this month

  1. #1

    Viewing Mars this month

    With Mars at its closest for some 60 000 years, just like every one here I'll be watching it, but having little astronomy knowledge I need help from more experienced astronomers on this board. Going by the back cover of a 'frontiers' magazine, Mars will be closest on August 27th. It also shows you were to look; South at midnight around Pegasus, Aquarius and Capricornus. Going by my basic star maps, I think I should just be able to view these constellations from central England when looking east at -10 to -20 degrees. Can anyone verify if that's corrrect? Thanks in advance for any help

  2. #2
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    It does not matter where you are on the Earth. On that date (and basically for a few days either side of it), Mars will be at it's highest point in the sky from wherever you are at Local Midnight, just like a full moon.

    Right now, just go out in the mid-evening and look southeast. You can't miss it. And it will be rising a little earlier each evening!!

  3. #3
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    Its bright, red, east and doesn't twinkle much.

    skyglow1

  4. #4
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    Actually, it is more orange than red. 8)

  5. #5
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    lol, yeah it is.

    skyglow1

  6. #6
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    Zeta04, Mars will be in retrograde motion through Aquarius for the next couple months, then it will go back through Aquarius in prograde. It looks like it doesn't get out of Aquarius until December.

  7. #7
    All ready to find it last night and what do I get.....clouds. I Couldn't even see the moon. Oh well, plenty of time to see it I guess.

  8. #8
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    I can sympathize; I live in central NC, and I can't remember a day in recent memory when we haven't gotten heavy clouds and rain. I'm still waiting to see it.

  9. #9
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    Last night I was getting home around 11:30 EST and Mars was huge and orange in the sky. I drove a little too quickly thinking I'd set up the scope and really get a good look. But, by the time I got home, there was ground level fog all around, and I couldn't see throough it to Mars. I was really disappointed. I'll try again tonight.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmcolt
    I can sympathize; I live in central NC, and I can't remember a day in recent memory when we haven't gotten heavy clouds and rain. I'm still waiting to see it.
    Heh, just two weeks ago Saturday, July 26, I and some friends hauled a couple scopes out to an undeveloped future park east of Hillsborough. The moon was new, and though it was a bit dewy, we stayed out from dusk till 2am, talking and watching the stars. We saw a lot of meteors too.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, you really can't miss it. No fancy star charts are required. Just go outside around midnight and look around in the sky. It's the brightest thing up there other than the moon.

  12. #12
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    Oh - if these clouds will ever go away!!!!

    (This is so abnormal :-? .)

  13. #13
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    I'm with Neb. Just missed a week of prime early evening moon viewings and still haven't gotten a look at Mars. Stellafane's over, but it looks like someone forgot to shut off the faucet. It's been so long, I've forgotten which way to look to see the sky

    Ok, I'm done crying now.

  14. #14
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    Mars is just gorgeous (unless on a cloudy night, although, even then, it might have an interesting halo). I wake up after Midnight and always go out to take a good long look through my handheld Zeiss binoculars. I am always too tired at that time of night to drag my Questar telescope outside and set it up. Getting up in the morning to go to work would be impossible if I did not get a good night's sleep.

    If you have not yet seen Mars, look for it near the Ecliptic (which is the path that Earth takes around the Sun. With the exception of Pluto, whose orbit has a different plane from the rest of the Solar System planets, the other planets' orbits are very close to the ecliptic, so look for them there.

    Hurry up! You do not want to miss Mars at its brightest.

    ljbrs

  15. #15
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    Finally got the scope out last night and actually had a look through scuddy clouds. Seeing was pretty bad (at least until 2AM when I had to pack it in. Dang sleep.) but I did manage to see the polar cap at least.

    While you're there, Uranus is just next door to Mars, and Neptune just over to the right.

    Add to the general chorus: where are all these CLOUDS coming from? I'm in Oregon in early August, for heaven's sake. I shouldn't see a cloud until October!

  16. #16
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    This year Indiana had the tenth rainiest July since they began keeping records in the mid-1800s. August hasn't been real rainy yet but it has been very cloudy. I did manage a couple good hours of Mars observing last Tuesday despite some scattered clouds and general haziness.

  17. #17
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    Re: Viewing Mars this month

    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta04
    With Mars at its closest for some 60 000 years, just like every one here I'll be watching it, but having little astronomy knowledge I need help from more experienced astronomers on this board. Going by the back cover of a 'frontiers' magazine, Mars will be closest on August 27th. It also shows you were to look; South at midnight around Pegasus, Aquarius and Capricornus. Going by my basic star maps, I think I should just be able to view these constellations from central England when looking east at -10 to -20 degrees. Can anyone verify if that's corrrect? Thanks in advance for any help
    All you have to do is look for the brightest object in the SE sky after 2300 local (in your case Z, UTC, GMT, take your pick) and there be Mars. Happy hunting

  18. #18
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    Re: Viewing Mars this month

    Quote Originally Posted by Gmann
    All you have to do is look for the brightest object in the SE sky after 2300 local (in your case Z, UTC, GMT, take your pick) and there be Mars. Happy hunting
    In his latest newsletter (number 41), the BA mentions that Mars is now the third brightest object in the whole sky, behind the moon and the Sun. Venus is still brighter though, but it's too close to the Sun to be seen.

  19. #19
    I got a good view of it the other night, but again we've had more clouds overhead recently. At least there's plenty of time to view it . Anyone got any pictures of it from this month?

  20. #20
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    My VERY bad picture:



    I have been watching mars through my 4 inch refractor at (bad quality) 100x and I'm suprised at what I can actually see! I can make out a dark thing that has a disctinct shape and the polar cap stands out bright.

    skyglow1

  21. #21
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    I'm a hopeless amateur hacking his way through the sky, but I've been blessed beyond belief by immaculate skies in Nebraska, of all places. Even in the middle of downtown Omaha, as light-polluted as it gets out here in the Midwest, there's Luna and Mars, bright as headlights. A remarkable sight.

    (And here I am, in the midst of Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars series ... what timing.)

  22. #22
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    I finally got to see it last night. The sky was extremely hazy and there was a bright halo around the moon, but there was Mars, shining like a...reddish-orange shining point of light.

    I only got about an hour of viewing time before a) heavy clouds rolled in and b) I lost it behind some trees, but I managed to see a big orange disk with a polar cap and some darkish areas when my eyes and the atmosphere cooperated.

    I tried to get a picture through the eyepiece, but this was the only one that came out resembling anything other than a bright blur (I don't have a proper camera attachment. Or a good camera.)

  23. #23
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    You folks with cloud troubles should come out here to Wyoming. I don't think there's been a night in July or August that I couldn't get out and observe. You all can come as long as you bring some of that rain with you. Of course that would defeat the purpose of you coming. :P Droughts bite! :x
    One question, does anyone use planetary filters to see the dark spots and polar caps?

    edited for syntax

  24. #24
    It's a pity I don't have the proper equipment to view it up close, because it was really bright last night and it shined brilliantly next to the Moon. I was watching it for about half an hour at 2 o'clock mainly unaided but I did have some binoculars with me. Sometimes some cloud would block it, but not for long and it was actually quite interesting watching the clouds pass in front of the Moon. What a sight! =D>

  25. #25
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    Whoo-hoo! I finally got to see Mars!!!!

    Yes, the clouds were rolled away and up through the trees was a beautiful bright orange/red little dot glowing in the sky. Neat-o!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTdNav
    You folks with cloud troubles should come out here to Wyoming. I don't think there's been a night in July or August that I couldn't get out and observe.
    My dream is to retire to Wyoming someday. My wife and I will be in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in September. Wyoming is one of our favorite places to vacation. I'm very jealous of your good seeing conditions!

    You all can come as long as you bring some of that rain with you. Of course that would defeat the purpose of you coming. :P Droughts bite! :x
    We'll bring rain with us in September, but only the kind that rains during the day.

  27. #27
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    Hamlet Wrote:
    My dream is to retire to Wyoming someday. My wife and I will be in Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in September. Wyoming is one of our favorite places to vacation. I'm very jealous of your good seeing conditions!
    I'm in Cheyenne, Wyo where the viewing conditions aren't quite as good as up North. Down here they have star parties in a place called Fox Park, West of Laramie in the Snowy Mountains. If you can stand the cold I understand the conditions are so good you can see a few of the larger deep sky objects with the naked eye.

  28. #28
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    I looked at Mars last night. Very nice, but it seemed to be too bright to be able see it well through my Terrestrial scope. I think the scope has a bit of astigmatism. I was hoping to get a view of the ice caps, but did not succeed. I tried using some red lens tape to make a crude filter, but that filtered too much light. My question is what is the minimum refractor aperature to be able to see the ice caps, or are they blocked by a dust storm or something.

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