Mars Gets Dusted!

Click on graphic to see it full size.

Click on graphic to see it full size.

   Sunday October 19th Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) will pass the planet by Mars as the comet heads inbound toward the Sun and perihelion. At the closest, 7 UT (2 am CDT), the comet comes within less than 100,000 miles (160,000 km) of Mars, and as the comet passes by Mars the comet’s dusty tail will sweep across the planet.
   Both are visible over the southwestern horizon at sunset local time and are situated near the spout of the teapot-shaped asterism in Sagittarius and embedded deep in the ‘heart’ of the Milky Way.

8" Schmidt Cassegrain: 25 mm eyepiece

8″ Schmidt Cassegrain: 25 mm eyepiece

   While the comet is not bright enough to be seen with the unaided eye it will be bright enough to be seen with telescopes as small as those with an 8″ (205 mm) mirrors. This graphic shows a simulated view of the comet (greatly exaggerated) and Mars as the two would appear looking through a 25mm eyepiece on an 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

   Read more about the comet and see some animations in a previous post.

   
   
   
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Caution: Objects viewed with an optical aid are further than they appear.
   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.

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