Astronomy

Where is Mars in the night sky

Where is Mars in the night sky

I live around Houston, Texas and I'm taking advantage of Earth hour to look at the stars. I've found two objects that I think might be Mars. Both of them are in roughly the same plane as Venus and Jupiter. Both are closer to Venus than Jupiter. One of them has a reddish tint and is higher in the sky than Venus, and the other is closer to the horizon than venus. It is 8:50 as I type this. Is one of these Mars?


You will be able to recognize Mars easily from its red color. Mars looks like a red tiny dot in the night sky. You can always use apps such as Google sky map. You simply point your phone in the direction of the red dot and your phone will identify the object for you.


At that time (20:50), and that location (Houston, Tx), Mars was closer to the horizon. You can see that in the sky-chart provided by heavens-above.com (attached below).

I cannot tell what's the other object you describe, but if you are not sure whether something is a planet or a star, the planets doesn't twinkle whether the star does.


Astro Bob: Mars enters a beehive, bright noctilucent clouds and the moon shines near Antares

On Tuesday night, June 22, look for twinkling Venus low in the northwestern sky about an hour after sundown. Planets are normally immune from twinkling because they show true disks compared to stars, which look like tiny points of light. It's a whole lot easier for turbulent air to "jiggle" starlight compared to a planet.

But two factors conspire to make Venus sputter like a candle flame: It's currently far from the Earth, so it looks tiny (more like a star), and it's also very low in the sky. Light from objects near the horizon must pass through much more air compared to viewing the same object overhead. All that extra air means added turbulence and more twinkling.

Once you find Venus in the darkening sky, take your binoculars and slide two binocular fields to the planet's upper left to spot Mars. Mars is easy to identify by its red hue. Tuesday night (June 22) and Wednesday, Mars will appear directly in front of the Beehive Cluster, also known as M 44, in Cancer.

It's a pity this happens when both are so low in the western sky, but I encourage you to find a location with a good view in that direction and take a peek. Either binoculars or a small telescope will show this unique conjunction of a planet and star cluster.

I wrote about looking for the "night-shining" noctilucent clouds in this earlier post. Since that time, we've had at least four displays over northern Minnesota along with many sightings around the world, including a few at unusually low latitudes in Madrid and Valencia, Spain.

The best evening viewing time starts an hour after sunset and lasts about 45 minutes. For example, here in Duluth, Minnesota, the sun sets around 9:05 p.m. The clouds first appear around 10 p.m. and shine best between 10:15-10:30 p.m. If you're out at dawn, 4 a.m. is an ideal time to look. The June 19th display was amazing! The wispy clouds were bright and obvious and stood about 15 degrees high across the northern sky.

After writing about photographing the sun on the solstices and equinoxes I decided to do it. Still can't believe I waited this long. On June 21, I got up before sunrise and found a good location on a local beach with a good horizon to take pictures of the rising sun at it most northernmost point in the sky. I'll find my way back to the spot Sept. 22 for the fall equinox and again on Dec. 21, the first day of winter.

Then I'll add those images together to show the full range of the sun's swing over six months and share it with you when we celebrate the winter solstice.


Where is Mars in the night sky - Astronomy

Conjunction of Mars and Uranus

Conjunction of Mars and Uranus

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Conjunctions feed

Mars and Uranus will share the same right ascension, with Mars passing 1°43' to the north of Uranus.

From Voronezh , the pair will be visible in the evening sky, becoming accessible around 17:34 (MSK), 49° above your south-eastern horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. They will then reach their highest point in the sky at 18:32, 51° above your southern horizon. They will continue to be observable until around 00:32, when they sink below 10° above your western horizon.

Mars will be at mag 0.2, and Uranus at mag 5.8, both in the constellation Aries.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible through a pair of binoculars.

A graph of the angular separation between Mars and Uranus around the time of closest approach is available here.

The positions of the two objects at the moment of conjunction will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
Mars 02h17m00s +14°58' Aries 0.2
Uranus 02h17m00s +13°15' Aries 5.8

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 95° from the Sun, which is in Capricornus at this time of year.


When will Mars be in the night sky?

I've been enjoying this hobby greatly in the last 2 months since I started. Sadly, seeing conditions combined with Jupiter being near the horizon has prevented enjoyable views where I live. I'm also happy to see Saturn out earlier in the night, as I don't have to stay up until midnight anymore to see it.

However, the one planet i've been itching to see since I started was Mars. What time of the year will Mars start appearing in the night sky?

#2 cn register 5

You need to get a planetarium program, such as Cartes du Ceil so you can see where everything is and adjust the time so you can plan when things will be available to observe.

Mars is currently just past conjunction with the Sun so rises at about the same time and isn't visible but by the middle of August will be rising before the Sun and be visible in the early morning sky.

It will be nearly a year before it will be in opposition, in about April 2014.

#3 Tony Flanders

It will be nearly a year before it will be in opposition, in about April 2014.

To translate, that means it won't look like anything but a minuscule dot barely distinguishable from a star until the end of this year.

Mars can be a very frustrating planet. Even at its best -- which won't be for years -- it's tough to see much detail on it. But then you get those once-per-decade nights and it's all worth it .

#4 StrangeDejavu

#5 sg6

Not exactly the same as planetarium software but for an animation try this:
SolarSys

Getting it back to "today" I always forget but either let it run and try to hit the stop button, or hold the mouse down while on the diode like sybol and release whe Earth+Mars are closest.

If you zoom out then Jupiter and eventually Saturn appear.

#6 StrangeDejavu

#7 acochran

#8 azure1961p

Mars has a lot to offer at any opposition , and in either side of it, provided expectations are up to the challenge.

Mars will soon enough be a dawn object - you'll see it under a twilight sky and it'll be roughly 4" in diameter. At this point if you can see a blemish of a Maria you are doing ok. One time Id like to pick off a polar cap when its this small but I never seem to get the chances when those opportunities arrive. At 4" throw as much magnification at it as you and the sky can stand. For me 433x has shown some generalized Maria.

At 7" things start to kick in. 7" is the smallest size my 70mm will reveal a polar cap and very basic broad Maria suggestions form. The 8" obviously handles it all the better, but 162x thru my 70mm and good seeing begins to allow the first peeps of the classic details

At 10" a lot of folks begin paying attention. It rises earlier in the evening so crazy am hours aren't required anymore. At this point the
Hemispheres will begin to reveal simpler forms identifying the major Maria. The polar cap is a slam dunk in any size scope. After getting used to 4", 6,7, and so on, 10" can seem fat.

After 12" the better views begin to happen. The simplified Maria now break up into irregular forms, even network like in the best seeing moments. Nice sketches can begin to happen at this scale.

Beyond 12" its classic Mars. Typical sizes for mars apparitions are 15-18" with latitude at each end plus or minus. Once you crest 12 though the apparition is seriously afoot.

One thing Ive noticed about my favorite Mars observations - the angular size didn'tatter so much as the SEEING. I'd rather have 9/10 seeing with my 8 inch and a 6" mars then 5/10 seeing with a 10" Mars. When the sky steadies and you can rack to perfection at the focuser A LOT can be forgiven. Nothing but nothing is so satisfying with Mars than a rock hard focus, size, come what may.

Its not to say you'll see more in the 6" disk at 9/10 seeing over the 10" 5/10, but the beauty of the presentation is unforgettable. A perfect small mars is more satisfying than a sloppy larger one.


How to spot Mars: See the red planet in the sky the day NASA's Perseverance rover lands

Credit: NASA

Last year was the year of Mars launches, and this one will be the year of Mars landings. The Hope Mars mission, launched by the United Arab Emirates, entered its orbit around Mars on February 9, while China's Tianwen-1 rover, now orbiting the planet, will land in May. Meanwhile, Nasa's Perseverance rover will land on the red planet come February 18.

Mars is one of the easiest planets to see in the night sky, blazing bright orange and visible for almost the whole year. It's been high up in the sky since the second half of last year, and you don't need any special equipment to see it.

This means there are some great opportunities to see the planet travelling across the night skies, including just as the Perseverance rover is touching down. The day the rover lands, there will be a close approach of the moon and Mars—meaning they will appear next to each other in the night sky.

It's not every day you get to see a close approach while a rover makes its landing. Wrap up warm and look for the Moon and Mars together as, 200 million km (124 million miles) away, Perseverance lands.

Here on Earth, we see close approaches because of what astronomers call the apparent motion of our Moon and the planets in the sky. Because the Earth and the other planets take different times to go around our Sun, and because the moon takes time to go around Earth, sometimes planets and our Moon look close to each other in the sky.

An "appulse" or "close approach" is when two objects look closest to each other, even if they're not physically close. It doesn't have physical consequences, but it does look impressive, and it's a great chance to take some space and do some planet watching.

On February 18, Mars rises just after sunset, at 17:40 (GMT), and joins a waxing crescent moon. Wherever you are in the world, look south for the Moon, and the little orange-red dot you see near it will be Mars.

Read more: Mars: how scientists prevent Earth's microbes from contaminating other planets

The Seven Sisters. Credit: Shutterstock/Maik Thomas

It'll be a treat just getting out and seeing the close approach with the naked eye, but if you have binoculars you'll also be able to get up closer and more personal with the red planet, and especially with the moon.

Although Mars is too small and far away for binoculars to do much more than make the planet look like a slightly bigger orange red dot, even a small pair of binoculars can pick out the Moon's craters in sharp, striking detail. Unfortunately, you won't be able to catch Mars and the Moon together through a telescope—they're still a bit too far away from each other for that.

It's worth wrapping up warm against the cold February air while Mars and the Moon move further south and west over the course of the night. Around 18:40 you'll be able to look up and to the left of Mars to see a set of fuzzy, twinkling pinpricks. These twinkly pinpricks are the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, a group of hot blue stars more than 400 light years away.

There are far more than seven of them—you'll be able to see anywhere between six and nine with the naked eye, or through binoculars or a telescope, and today we know there are over 1,000. You can track the Moon, Mars and the Pleiades across the sky until they set in the west just after 13:00.

Planets move across the sky. This is how they got to be called planets because the ancient Greeks called them planetai or "wanderers". Right now, Mars is moving steadily to the west and you can usually recognise it by its distinctive colour, as well as its distinct lack of twinkling—stars twinkle, while planets don't. As long as it's a clear night, you can generally spot it.

Mars had its closest approach to Earth back in October last year, which means right now it's getting further away from us. As it moves west, it'll also be moving past the Pleiades into the constellation of Taurus, the bull. By April Mars will be visible straight above Aldebaran—the brightest star in the constellation Taurus. By May, Mars moves into the constellation of Gemini but is unfortunately low in the sky.

You can see Mars and Venus together in early July, low on the western horizon. But by August, Mars will be difficult—if not impossible—to spot. From there it sets too early for us to see in our skies—but don't worry, it'll be back and at a close approach to Earth by 2022.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


Related Content:

Mars rovers Opportunity and Curiosity have seen other transits, such as when Mars' moon Phobos passed in front of the Sun!

This animation shows the transit of Mars' moon Phobos across the Sun. It is made up of images taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on the morning of the 45th martian day, or sol, of its mission. This observation will help refine our knowledge of the orbit and position of Phobos. Other spacecraft may be able to take better images of Phobos using this new information. This event is similar to solar eclipses seen on Earth in which our Moon passes in front of the Sun. The images were taken by the rover's panoramic camera.


Mars & the Moon Will Have a Close Encounter in the Sky Tonight

Updated on 2/18/2021 at 9:28 AM

February 18 is a big day for the red planet. The headlining event is clearly the arrival of the Perseverance rover on Mars. In the afternoon, the rover and its Mars Helicopter Ingenuity will end the months-long trip to the fourth planet from the sun. The rover will touch down in the Jezero Crater around 3 pm ET to begin an exciting science mission for NASA.

The night of February 18, however, your attention should remain on Mars. The planet that shines with a ruddy red hue will have a close pass with the moon, creating a beautiful pairing in the early evening. It'll be an encounter that is easy to see with the naked eye.

Look west after sunset to see the red planet sitting just to the right of the waning gibbous moon. Unlike more difficult to see celestial sights, like meteor showers, you will be able to see this pairing even from inside most cities because Mars is so bright. The night sky is always stunning under truly dark skies, but this will still be visible if you don't travel to a rural area to see the duo.

So, spend a little time thinking about Mars throughout the day. It's a big day for the red feller.


Where is Mars in the night sky - Astronomy

Conjunction of the Moon and Mars

Conjunction of the Moon and Mars

Dominic Ford, Editor
From the Conjunctions feed

The Moon and Mars will share the same right ascension, with the Moon passing 1°28' to the north of Mars. The Moon will be 5 days old.

At around the same time, the two objects will also make a close approach, technically called an appulse.

From Voronezh , the pair will become visible around 20:39 (MSK), 28° above your western horizon, as dusk fades to darkness. They will then sink towards the horizon, setting 3 hours and 57 minutes after the Sun at 00:08.

The Moon will be at mag -10.6, and Mars at mag 1.7, both in the constellation Gemini.

The pair will be too widely separated to fit within the field of view of a telescope, but will be visible to the naked eye or through a pair of binoculars.

A graph of the angular separation between the Moon and Mars around the time of closest approach is available here.

The positions of the two objects at the moment of conjunction will be as follows:

Object Right Ascension Declination Constellation Magnitude Angular Size
The Moon 06h59m20s +25°37' Gemini -10.6 29཯Ř
Mars 06h59m20s +24°09' Gemini 1.7

The coordinates above are given in J2000.0. The pair will be at an angular separation of 48° from the Sun, which is in Taurus at this time of year.


Mars has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos, which were discovered by Asaph Hall in 1877 they are named after the sons of Mars in Greek mythology.

Both are very small &ndash less than 25 km across &ndash and are very challenging objects to observe as they orbit very close to Mars.

It is thought unlikely that they formed at the same time as Mars. They are probably in fact asteroids which have been captured into orbit around the planet. Phobos orbits so close to Mars that it feels strong tidal forces which will probably rip it apart within the next 50 million years.


Moon and Mars meet in late October

These next several nights – October 28, 29 and 30, 2020 – watch for the bright waxing gibbous moon to sweep by the red planet Mars. Earlier this month, Earth came closest to Mars for this two-year period, and, in turn, Mars has been shining brilliantly in Earth’s sky. Enjoy Mars right now while it’s still bright and beautiful! The moon can help you find it in the next few nights. Full moon will come on October 31. It’ll be the second full moon of this month, which many will call a Blue Moon. A Blue Moon near red Mars on October 31? Cool!

This’ll also be the second time that the moon pairs up with Mars in October, having done so previously on the night of October 2-3, 2020. As for October’s first full moon – the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon – it fell on October 1, 2020.

This month – October 2020 – Mars supplanted the king planet Jupiter as the fourth brightest celestial body to light up the heavens (after the sun, moon and the planet Venus, respectively). In November 2020, however, Jupiter will reclaim its accustomed spot in the heavenly hierarchy. Earth, in its faster and smaller orbit around the sun, is now traveling away from Mars. Therefore, the red planet is slowly bur surely dimming in Earth’s sky.

Nonetheless, Mars will continue to shine more brilliantly than a 1st-magnitude star for the remainder of 2020.

The moon will pass 3 degrees to the south of Mars on October 29, 2020, at 16:13 UTC. That’s during the daylight hours October 29 at North American time zones, when the moon and Mars will still be below our horizon.

From North America, we’ll see the moon to the southwest of Mars as darkness falls on October 28, and then to the southeast of Mars at nightfall October 29.

Our planet Earth, in our faster and smaller orbit around the sun, laps Mars in periods of about 2 years and 2 months. Whenever Earth passes between Mars and the sun, Mars is said to be at opposition. It’s at opposition that Mars is opposite the sun in Earth’s sky. It’s at or around opposition that Earth comes closest to Mars for the year, and Mars, in turn, shines most brilliantly in Earth’s sky. Mars’ most recent opposition took place on October 13, 2020, and Mars’ next opposition will happen on December 28, 2022.

Because Mars has such an eccentric (oblong) orbit around the sun, Martian oppositions are far from equal. Especially close oppositions happen in late August/early September, and especially far oppositions in late February/early March.

Yet, the next six oppositions of Mars will be farther away than this year’s, and Mars won’t showcase a brighter production until the opposition of September 15, 2035. We give the distances for Mars for the oppositions from 2020 to 2035, inclusive, in terms of the astronomical unit (AU). The astronomical unit is the sun-Earth distance of about 93 million miles or 150 million km.

Martian oppositions 2020 to 2035

October 13, 2020: 0.41 AU
December 28, 2022: 0.54 AU
January 16, 2025: 0.64 AU
February 19, 2027: 0.68 AU
March 25, 2029: 0.65 AU
May 4, 2031: 0.55 AU
June 28, 2033: 0.42 AU
September 15, 2035: 0.39 AU

Bottom line: Use the bright waxing gibbous moon to find the red planet Mars in late October 2020. This is the brightest that you’ll see Mars for another 15 years!


Watch the video: Εντυπωσιακές στήλες φωτός σχηματίστηκαν στον νυχτερινό ουρανό σε πόλη της Σιβηρίας (January 2022).