Skywatch: A journey from the Red Planet

Skywatch: A journey from the Red Planet

The night sky corresponds to Mars for the rest of this month.

The Red Planet is currently at its closest point to our bit Rabbit, so the sky looks brighter than usual, and even bigger through binoculars. In fact, Mars will not be as vast and bright in our skies again until the year 2035, when the first astronauts are expected to cross its surface.

It is impossible to eclipse Mars in the sky this month because it is visible all night. Go out around 8pm, as the sky gets dark, turn your back on the setting sun and you’ll see Mars low in the east, looking like a bright-shining orange star at a distance.

By 10 pm it is high in the southeastern sky, and by midnight it will be high in the south, burning with a bright orange-red light. And as the sky brightens as the morning approaches, Mars will still be there, but less in the west, less as the sun rises.

Mars is bright enough to be seen from the center of a lightly polluted town, but if you can get away from the light with a truly dark sky, it will look great. And when you look at Mars, you will see that, unlike the bright stars in the sky, it does not shine, but instead shines with a steady light.

This is because Mars is a small disk, not a point of light, so its light is less distorted by the speed of the wind.

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If you have a pair of binoculars, they won’t show you any surface details on Mars themselves – it’s not close to us – but they will greatly enhance the brightness and color of Mars, but you don’t need them. Next clear night go to your garden, look east and enjoy seeing the red planet in its best years.

Stuart Atkinson

About the author: Seth Grace

"Social media trailblazer. Music junkie. Evil student. Introvert. Typical beer fan. Extreme web ninja. Tv fanatic. Total travel evangelist. Zombie guru."

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