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Mars is opposed to Earth.


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On 10/10/2020 at 9:01 PM, DizRotus said:

It’s cloudy tonight so no Mars sighting this evening.


According to NASA, Tuesday 10/13/20 is the closest during this opposition.




Taken from the NASA article linked above:


“So, with all these added factors, some perihelic oppositions bring us closer together than others. The 2003 opposition was the closest approach in almost 60,000 years!

Mars' orbit is more elliptical than Earth's, so the difference between perihelion and aphelion is greater. Over the past centuries, Mars' orbit has been getting more and more elongated, carrying the planet even nearer to the sun at perihelion and even farther away at aphelion. So future perihelic oppositions will bring Earth and Mars even closer. But we'll still have bragging rights for awhile. Our 2003 record will stand until August 28, 2287!”


I don’t think I can wait until 2287.


I remember the 2003 opposition well.  Mars was big and orange for most of that year.  It was clearly visible as a disc, not a dot, and was easy to see from downtown Victoria in the evening before dark, and even better after dark, of course.

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8 hours ago, CECAA850 said:

When the moon is in the Seventh House
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars


I had Hair on cassette tape when I was 10 years old (1970).  Had my parents listened to it, I would not have had it for very long.

I also saw Mars through my little 3" reflector telescope that year.  I was much more impressed by Saturn.

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5 minutes ago, Seadog said:

I had Hair on cassette tape when I was 10 years old (1970).  Had my parents listened to it, I would not have had it for very long.

HAIR was a slow paced peaceful revolution ,  but it did play a role into the Draft being removed  , sadly  , we  lost 2 wars , Korea and Vietnam , because of the China factor  -

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On 9/27/2020 at 4:50 AM, DizRotus said:

According to the BBC, Earth and Mars are in opposition for the next several days.  At 4:00 AM Eastern, Mars is at 12 o'clock as I look south.  There's no mistaking the Red Planet

    I encourage you to look up to see Mars while the opposition exists.

 I got the opportunity to put some optics on the red planet last night.  By 9pm it was high enough in the sky that the distortion caused by the atmosphere was brought down to acceptable levels for being only at 1000 feet above sea level. The scope is an Orion 203 x 1200 coupled with a 26mm eye price. Mars was quite bright.  Hoping to catch a glimpse of one of its two moons they remained hidden. After adding a polarized filter one side of mars appeared  brighter than the other.  Was the brighter side the frozen north of mars as told by Edgar Rice Burroughs in the martian chronicles? 

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  • 1 month later...

Just in time for Christmas, Jupiter and Saturn will come closer than they have since the Middle Ages


The two largest planets in our solar system are...

Posted: Dec 5, 2020 10:45 AM
Posted By: CNN

The two largest planets in our solar system are coming closer together than they have been since the Middle Ages, and it's happening just in time for Christmas.

So, there are some things to look forward to in the final month of 2020.

On the night of December 21, the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will appear so closely aligned in our sky that they will look like a double planet. This close approach is called a conjunction.

"Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another," said Rice University astronomer and professor of physics and astronomy Patrick Hartigan in a statement.

"You'd have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky."

If you're a stargazer, you've likely noticed Jupiter and Saturn have been getting closer together since the summer. And they're currently visible in our night sky, inching ever closer to one another.

But between December 16 and 25, they will become even cozier. Look for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction low in the western sky for about an hour after sunset each evening during this time.

"On the evening of closest approach on Dec(ember) 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full Moon," Hartigan said. "For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening."

While these two planets may appear close, they are still hundreds of millions of miles apart, according to NASA.

Hope for clear skies because the conjunction will be visible around the world, with the best perspective for those near the equator.

"The further north a viewer is, the less time they'll have to catch a glimpse of the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon," Hartigan said.

The planets will be bright enough to be viewed in twilight, which may be the best time for many US viewers to observe the conjunction.

"By the time skies are fully dark in Houston, for example, the conjunction will be just 9 degrees above the horizon," Hartigan said. "Viewing that would be manageable if the weather cooperates and you have an unobstructed view to the southwest."

If you're in New York or London, or along those latitudes, try to spot the conjunction right after sunset. Waiting an hour after the sun sets will only put the planets closer to the horizon, making them more difficult to spot.

The best conditions to see this astronomical event will include a clear southwestern horizon and no low clouds in the distance, Hartigan said. Binoculars or a telescope may help you distinguish the planets. A telescope would enable a view of Saturn's rings and the brightest moons of both planets, he said.

If you miss this conjunction and want to see the planets with the same proximity, just higher in the sky, it won't happen until March 15, 2080 -- and then not again until after 2400.

Between 0 and 3000 CE, or Common Era, only seven conjunction were or will be closer than this one -- and two of those were too close to the sun to be seen without a telescope, according to Hartigan. So, yes, this is an incredibly rare event.

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Northern lights, known for glowing red and green colors, could be visible this week across northern US

Doyle Rice
  • Auroras could be sighted in northern-tier U.S. states from Maine to Montana to Washington this week.
  • The colorful event is courtesy of a solar flare, which erupted out of a sunspot on Monday.
  • The aurora forms when the particles flowing from the sun get caught up in the Earth's magnetic field.

If you live across portions of the northern U.S., keep your eyes to the sky over the next few nights: Barring pesky clouds, you might catch a peek of the northern lights, aka the aurora borealis. 

According to SpaceWeather.com, auroras could be sighted in northern-tier U.S. states from Maine to Montana to Washington this week. 

The colorful event is courtesy of a solar flare, which erupted out of a sunspot Monday. A coronal mass ejection – a burst of plasma from the sun – is also heading toward the Earth, and it should get here later Wednesday or on Thursday.

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center said that the coronal mass ejection will begin interacting with the Earth's magnetic field late Wednesday. The electromagnetic storm is expected to grow to major status Thursday, extending the area where the northern lights are visible.

So Thursday night might end up being the best night for to see the northern lights. 

The northern lights in Alaska.

The center issued a geomagnetic storm watch, saying a Level G3 or “strong” storm is possible here on Earth on Thursday.

The aurora forms when the particles flowing from the sun get caught up in the Earth's magnetic field. The particles interact with molecules of atmospheric gases to cause the famed glowing red and green colors of the aurora.

The lights are visible in both the far northern and southern parts of the world. The southern lights are known as the aurora australis.

Contributing: Bill Steiden, The Des Moines Register

Worlds align this winter solstice: Look for Jupiter, Saturn in December skies

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