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View Full Version : Planet for December and January is Mars



Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 02:50 PM
Gets better throughout the month to reach its peak brightness and size right at the end of January.

In the Uk if you manage to get a break in the clouds look East/Southeast at about 11pm and you will see a non shimmering very obviously red/orange disc star like object that is the red planet - hard to think we have 2 little robots pootling about on its surface at the moment.


As the Month progress' it will rise earlier and get bigger and through binoculars be an obvious disc.

Now its a lot smaller than the massive gas giants and you'll be hard pushed to see the moons but through a scope you will see a small orange/red surface - take your time to look at it through a telescope if you have one as it takes some time for your eyes to become adapted but 'trust me on this' when you do start to see detail it can be quite astonishing you can clearly see dark patches of the rocky surfaces and the polar caps are obviusly white - but it takes time to 'learn' to see them

If and when I get a clear night and its not too windy I'll try and take some pics but its going to be a good'Mars season' as the planets ride high in the Northern sky in the Winter as we are tilted towards them and this means more stable atmosphere and clearer views

let me know if you need any help or think you can see him :yes:

ukwdwnut
12-23-2009, 04:03 PM
cool thx for the info chris

have you been watching the universe programmes on nat geo....very very interesting indeed, last night there was a prog on about the return to the moon :)

Dawn
12-23-2009, 04:11 PM
Please Mr Skywatcher, is that still Jupiter high in the southern direction that the moon has been near the past few days?

Stood my tripod in the middle of our road in the ice and snow and took a few shots. :D

Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 04:25 PM
Yep Jupiter is heading west with the moon at the moment - it was so clear the other night ( inbetween the clouds) that I could see 3 moons around jupiter with my cheapo 8x50 binoculars! and the orion Nebula!!

keith
12-23-2009, 04:48 PM
I just got this Google Sky Map (http://www.google.com/sky/skymap.html) for the Android phone which is kinda handy and with its help and the good sir.skywatcher's instructions, I'm starting to see more than I imagined possible even with just some old tired eyes :lol:

Dawn
12-23-2009, 05:02 PM
This was my best. :D

Stood in the middle of the road with the tripod on a sheet of ice. :lol:

It's for Steven's homework really as next term they are learning about Space. :thumbsup:

Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 05:03 PM
There is definitely a moment when you finally look up into the night sky and 'see' the constellations - it took me several months and TBH there are still some I cant see properly cos of light pollution and the fact they are a bit 'weird' but it comes with time.

the free apps - Planets ( shows you where the planets are and the constellations around them at night from your GPS location) and Distant Suns lite are both good starting points

Good constellations to try and spot this month are

Ursa Major - the plough to the North

Cassiopea - a big W overhead

Taurus - a big V with a gorgeous orage star at the heart of the 'head' and the beginning of the horns - high to the south/southeast with the pliedes open cluster ( looks like a mini plough) close by

Orion - most people can find this to the South rising at about 9 ish at the moment

and if you look left of Betelgeuce ( the orange star top left of orion and follow it about 2 handspans or so to the left you come accross 2 stars 1 above th e other which marks Gemini

keep at it and it will come

Dawn
12-23-2009, 05:08 PM
Cassiopea - a big W overhead

Was out walking the dog a few nights ago and the sky was so clear I was staring up all the time. The big W was so stunning that I walked into a lamp post while admiring it. :sorry:

Dog not impressed. :lol:

Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 05:10 PM
That great Dawn more than I have managed for 3 months :D - you have taken a picture of our moon and the surface of another world - they call these 'close encounters' conjunctions so thats a conjunction of the moon and Jupiter and the exposure time is bang on so there is no trailing and its not burned out - its actuially quite a hard thing to do :D

Now lets see ifyou can get Mars later on in the year :D

Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 05:11 PM
Was out walking the dog a few nights ago and the sky was so clear I was staring up all the time. The big W was so stunning that I walked into a lamp post while admiring it. :sorry:

Dog not impressed. :lol:

If you let your eyes become accustomed to the dark the big W is drenched in starsas it lies in the plane of the milky way

ukwdwnut
12-23-2009, 05:16 PM
so i take it you didnt see the programmes then chris?

Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 05:20 PM
No I didn't Mick but will keep an eye out for the repeats :thumbsup: I always watch the Sky at night every month its on 1st Sunday night of every month and its brilliant

Dawn
12-23-2009, 05:29 PM
Dear Uncle Skywatcher

My class are learning about Space next term and I was wondering if I could stick some of your photos in my school book to show everyone and I can tell my teacher I know someone who's space pictures are the Best. :D

Love Steven.

Britchick
12-23-2009, 05:38 PM
Dawn that's brill! you can see that jupiter is round!

Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 05:45 PM
Dear Steven,

I would be honoured young man, you can either take them straight off my photobucket site or if you would like some higher quality ones I can try and e-mail them to your mummy.

Chris x

Dawn
12-23-2009, 05:54 PM
Thanks mate, we'll take them from Photobucket and he'll do one of his famous powerpoint presentations for the class. :D

Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 06:06 PM
:thumbsup:

Just got a bit emotional - one of my patients has just boght me a very expensive astronomy book for xmas :jawdrop:

Dawn
12-23-2009, 06:10 PM
:point:

I was like that last week when one of the kids in my class gave me a box of chocolates. :D

Tink
12-23-2009, 06:25 PM
How nice is that for both of you?

Having a patient understand how much you like something speaks directly to how good you are to your people, Doc. :hug2:

Chocolates, Dawn? Oooooh. You are sharing, yes? :D :D :wink:

Dawn
12-23-2009, 06:56 PM
Hmmmm, what is this sharing concept you speak of? :rotfl:

Skywatcher
12-23-2009, 07:07 PM
One of them bought the boys a wii :mental:

ukwdwnut
12-24-2009, 01:03 PM
No I didn't Mick but will keep an eye out for the repeats :thumbsup: I always watch the Sky at night every month its on 1st Sunday night of every month and its brilliant

i will look on the planner and let you know when they are on. i know one is on a tuesday on nat geo....the moon one, they showed what was likely to happen over the next 50-60 years building an outpost there, absolutely fascinating