TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Four planets right now!

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by AudubonB, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,233
    Location:
    Denali Highway, Alaska
    5 including Earth....

    Courtesy of Sky & Telescope's weekly, we just went outside and not only had Jupiter, Venus and Mars, but saw for the first time Uranus, too. Cool! Not that the latter had much to see. Still, that's neat!
     
  2. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Messages:
    2,766
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains, USA
    Very neat!
     
  3. rjcbox

    rjcbox Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    428
    Location:
    NJ, USA
    what telescope are you using?
     
  4. AudubonB

    AudubonB Mild-mannered Moderator Lord Vetinari*

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,233
    Location:
    Denali Highway, Alaska
    Jenny gave me an 8" Dob for Christmas. I built up a nice rolling/drop-down leg stand for it so we're having a fine time. Too bad Saturn couldn't join us for tonight's show -
     
  5. bestellen

    bestellen Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2014
    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Poland
    If you look up at the sky tonight you will see two bright objects quite close to each other, these are the planets Mars and Saturn. Mars has a pink/orange glow and this becomes more apparent when seen through binoculars. To see the planetary disc you would need to use a telescope, ideally with an 8” mirror, but it’s still worth finding with your eyes. The surface of Mars is reddish brown due to the high levels of iron oxide present in the dust and rock. Red soil, or “Terra Rossa”, is seen in the Mediterranean region and across Africa similar to Mars. However, we also have liquid water which doesn’t exist on Mars. It may have flowed over the Martian surface billions of years ago, however.

    Mars and SaturnThe second largest planet in our solar system, Saturn consists mainly of hydrogen and helium gas with a small silicate core. A Saturnian day is only 10 hours 40 minutes long. If you were to travel to Saturn at the speed of a sports car – 200 mph – it would take you 500 years to get there. It was first seen through a telescope by Galileo over 400 years ago and he saw two bits protruding on either side of the planet – its famous rings. You can just make out the shape of the planet through binoculars (we recommend a minimum of 15×70) and through a telescope you’ll see the four largest moons – Mimas, Enceladus, Rhea and Titan.

    Jupiter and Venus

    If you are an early riser, look out for the brightest object in the sky apart from the Sun – Venus. It is often called the morning or evening star as it is seen close to sunrise or sunset. This is because it orbits in between the Earth and the Sun and from our perspective we see it move left and right of the Sun over time. Through a telescope you will see Venus in a gibbous phase. Its rotational period (243 days) is very similar to its orbital period (224 days) due to its proximity to the Sun – it has undergone tidal breaking as a result of the Sun’s gravitational pull. It also spins in the opposite direction to the other planets, possibly the result of a collision with another large rock billions of years ago. Jupiter appears pretty close to Venus at the moment and has a very similar appearance to the unaided eye.
     

Share This Page