Skywatch: A visit from the red planet

Skywatch: A visit from the red planet

The night sky later this month belongs to Mars.

The Red Planet is currently in its closest orbit, so the sky is much brighter than usual and appears larger with a telescope. In fact, Mars will not be this bright and bright in our sky again until 2035, when the first astronauts will jump across its surface.

It is unlikely to miss Mars in the sky this month because it will be visible throughout the night. Go out at 8pm, go back to the sunset as the sky grows darker and you will see that Mars is low in the east, like a bright orange star above the horizon.

At 10 pm it will be high in the southeastern sky, and at midnight it will be high in the south, burning with a clear orange-red light. Mars will still be there when the sky shines with the approach of dawn, but less in the west, sunset when the sun rises.

Mars is bright enough to be seen from the center of a light polluted city, but it would be a spectacular sight if the lights could go somewhere really dark. When you look at Mars, you will notice that unlike the bright stars in the sky, it does not shine, but rather shines with a steady light.

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

If you have a pair of telescopes they will not show you any surface details on Mars – it is not close to us – but they will greatly improve the brightness and color of Mars, but you do not need them. Go out to your garden for the next clear night and look east and enjoy the Red Planet for many years to come.

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Stuart Atkinson

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About the Author: Seth Sale

"Passionate creator. Wannabe travel expert. Reader. Entrepreneur. Zombie aficionado. General thinker."

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