Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mars is BACK!

Let's be real clear here what this means...

NO! Mars will not be the size of the full Moon! For that stupid email hoax that I get every August since 2003, check this out first.

What is really happening is Mars is approaching opposition again. Every two years and a bit, Mars will be making it's closest approach to Earth. However, this will not be a close approach like other years, so Mars will be smaller in the telescope.

Check this out for lots of information regarding this opposition, visit here.

Last night, among other things, I caught Mars slowly rising in the constellation Cancer after spending a few hours checking out two new double stars and some general observing of M42. Mars was low in the sky when I first spotted it. It's easy to spot because Cancer is a relatively faint constellation. You can't miss it. It will be the brightest "star" in the East after 11pm EST.

Visually it was hampered by atmospheric instability so my observations were highly limited but I did make out the polar ice cap quite nicely and some darker features on the surface of the planet. But again, it was very poor seeing. When it gets higher, it will be nicer.

One other thing. I don't ever recall looking at Mars through the old Refractor. This is odd because I do remember looking at Mars through other scopes. First time I ever saw it was through my first "real" telescope, a Meade ETX, but after that I cannot recall which scope I was using. I completely missed the 2007 opposition because either the weather stunk, or I was too busy (and the old Refractor was in storage). Oh well, it's all good to go now, so we will just wait for clear skies again.


1 comment:

  1. I'm responding to your comment on my blog about my new layout. Wrote this there & sending it here to you..
    Thanks Marc , nice to see you back! I was going to check out your blog today too see what you've been up too. I did it based on my readers requests and enjoyment of it but i'm enjoying it too !

    Haven't seen sidewalk universe guy online since september. he's so cool.

    I wrote of the Mars hoax too , found the funniest picture I can find representing frustrated astronomer's getting the question or forward.