Mars Through the Trees, 10/13/20

Tonight we’re as close to Mars as we’re going to be for a few decades. I thought I’d go out and get a picture of it. You can see it just barely clearing the trees here. It’s bright and beautiful and I’m glad I got to see it tonight. If you have time and a clear sky, go and take a look at it yourself. You won’t regret it.

— JS

16 Comments on “Mars Through the Trees, 10/13/20”

  1. I was just looking at Mars, thinking that I didn’t recall it looking so bright ever before.

  2. Broke out my big ten inch (Mead reflector) tonight. And it rained and rained and rained and rained.

    Oh well. Mars is a cool view. I’ll get it when it clears up.

  3. Lovely!

    Don’t know whether it’s crossed your radar yet, but you might enjoy the TV series “Away”, about a multinational effort to send a team to Mars. The science and engineering are frequently “what were they thinking?” or “no, really not!”, but the characters and acting are lovely. After a bit of artificially overhyped interpersonal drama, things settle down and the characters pull you right through each episode despite a plot having more holes than the usual Trump tweet. One thumb up, maybe two if the science/engineering doesn’t bother you.

  4. Jupiter and Saturn are also visible in the south just after the sun has gone down. And apparently Venus is visible before dawn (although I haven’t got up to check that out – you have to draw the line somewhere!)

  5. I kind of figured that was why Mars appeared to be as big and bright as Venus normally is. I first noticed it a couple weeks ago and did a search for Planets Visible in the Night Sky. Figuring out Jupiter and Saturn was a bonus.

  6. ‘…My longing was beyond the power of opposition; I closed my eyes, stretched out my arms toward the god of my vocation and felt myself drawn with the suddenness of thought through the trackless immensity of space…”
    ‘The Princess of Mars’ ERB
    I do that every time I see Mars, and have since I read that book, 50 years ago. I’ve never gotten to Mars, but that book sent me on the incredible journey to all things SciFi. So glad it wasn’t raining last night.

  7. Dale Allen, Venus is still *much* brighter than Mars. At this point Mars is just slightly brighter than Jupiter, which is pretty much the brightest it can reach. Neither Mars nor Jupiter is ever able to reach the luminosity of Venus (aside from times when Venus is close to the sun and essentially invisible). One problem with judging this, though, is that Mars can never be at its brightest and simultaneously appear close to Venus in our sky, and unless you can see two lights in the sky at the same time it is difficult to remember them well enough to make a true comparison. You *can*, though, see both up before dawn over the coming weeks, although they are close to being on opposite sides of the sky and therefore hard to compare directly–you have to look at one and then turn to look at the other.

  8. and in celebration, I (re)read The Martian, by Andy Weir. I conveniently forgot the plot ;-)

  9. Bought a new Barlow 2x lens for my 4″ refractor telescope just for this. Still couldn’t make out anything like polar ice caps, but still worth getting up at 1 AM for this sort of thing. I think my wife approves of the mid-life crisis telescope purchase instead of the more traditional sports car.

  10. Be careful you don’t wake up on the Red Planet with all sorts of enemies and other pressings problems. But if you do look up John Carter.

  11. I got my oldest to come outside with me pre-dawn this morning to look at Mars through the telescope, just as it was about to set, and Venus overhead. Both were brighter than I’ve ever seen them in recent memory.

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