Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sky Guy Viewing ALERT - Mars

Hey Space Placers!

Sorry I missed you yesterday but it was a full day of moving as I am relocating in Virginia. I will be heading out to sea on Monday, April 7 from Miami to Barcelona, Spain aboard Oceania Cruises'
ms Riviera.


Photo Oceania Cruises

You have to get out and see Mars as it is the brightest we have seen the Red Planet in 6 1/2 years - December 2007. Simply stated, Mars dominates the sky in the southeast (mid-latitudes Northern Hemisphere) right after sunset starting on the 8th when the Sun, Earth and Mars are in a single line as seen from the Sun. This is called opposition.

Mars will get brighter until April 14th when it will be closest to our planet. After that Mars will still remain at about the same brightness for the rest of April as it retreats from us. If you have a telescope of any size now is the time to get it out and look at the Red Planet. In 4 inches or larger Mars will reveal some detail of its surface and polar cap.

Mars as photographed in 2012 by S&T imaging editor Sean Walker with a 12.5-inch Newtonian telescope. Click image for higher resolution.
© Sky & Telescope: Sean Walker

Weather and schedule have prevented me from seeing Mars in my telescope. BUT, I have never seen Mars at sea when at opposition so I am really hoping for clear skies in Bermuda as Mars peeks above the horizon to get a possible once in a lifetime picture that I can share with you.

Sky Guy in Sunny VA

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