Mars – Jupiter at Heliocentric Conjunction


   Saturday March 3rd the outer planets Mars and Jupiter will be at a position along their respective orbits where they have the same heliocentric longitude of approximately 223o. However this does not mean that if you were to observe the two in the morning skies that they would be lined up. The are not. Rather, as this graphic shows, the two planets are lined up with each other and with the Sun, while the Earth is at a lower heliocentric longitude and not in the same line as the two planets.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

Mars and Uranus at Heliocentric Conjunction

   Greetings from San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina. For the next 3 weeks I will be posting with the perspective of viewing the sky from between around 42o-48o south latitude, and then from the equator while in Quito Ecuador.

   On the evening of January 13th both planets, Mars (23o) and Uranus (23o), will be at about the same heliocentric longitude or at heliocentric conjunction. While they may share nearly identical heliocentric longitude coordinates they do not have the same right ascension with Uranus about 2 hours of R.A. west from Mars. Both Mars and Uranus are visible over the southwestern horizon a couple of hours after sunset, although it may prove to be difficult to see Uranus with an apparent magnitude of nearly 6.0.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

A Martian ‘2fer’

   Saturday November 5th the planet Mars will be involved in two celestial events, however only one will be easily seen while the other would require a telescope or photo equipment.
   As this graphic shows the waxing crescent Moon will be within about 7o from the planet Mars – just a little too far for both to fit within the field of view of binoculars. That 7o is measured from my geographic location so depending on your location and viewing time Mars could be seen as being as close as around 5o from the Moon.
   Mars is also at heliocentric conjunction with the planet Neptune on November 5th. This is when two planets, other than Earth have the same heliocentric longitude. And on the 5th Mars and Neptune will share the same heliocentric longitude of 341.0o.
   Mars shines at an apparent magnitude of 0.41 while Neptune is considerably dimmer with an apparent magnitude of 7.8.

   
   
   

Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for monthly observing information, or here to return to bobs-spaces.

A Good Luck Day

   Friday February 13th, is for some folks a day of bad luck. For me the ‘bad luck’ has more to do with my history of having a cloudy night after suggesting an observation to my students. And considering the celestial events on Friday we will see what happens.

   Before sunrise this week look west for the Moon in its waning phases. The waning crescent Moon passes by Saturn and the reddish star Antares in Scorpius the Scorpion on Thursday and Friday February 12th and 13th as this animated graphic is showing.
   While Saturn and the Moon are in the pre-dawn early morning skies in the east, over the opposite horizon and in the evening skies at sunset are the planets Mars and Venus.

   Mars, on the 13th is at a position along its orbit known as heliocentric conjunction with the more outer planet Uranus. At this orbital position Mars is between the Sun and Uranus.

   
   
   
[centup]
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.

Mars and Neptune at Heliocentric Conjunction

view-from-mars   Saturday December 13th the planets Mars and Neptune are at heliocentric conjunction with both planets having approximately the same heliocentric longitude of 336.8o. From a perspective above the solar system the two planets are in a straight line alignment from each other.

   
   
   
[centup]
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.

Mars Transits the Sun

saturn-mars-heliocentric_conjunction   Yes there will be a transit of the Sun by Mars, however you would have to be on the planet Saturn to see this transit as this graphic shows. This astronomical event is known as a heliocentric conjunction. It is determined by measuring, along the ecliptic, the angle between the Earth’s vernal equinox longitude, 0o, and a planet as would be seen if you were on the Sun.
   The Mars – Saturn heliocentric conjunction is on Saturday, 14 June, at 18 UT (1 pm CDT).
   While the short video below, taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover, is not a transit of the Sun by Mars it does show a transit of the Sun by Mercury as seen from the surface of Mars.

   
   
   
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.