View Full Version : Mars

2003-Aug-19, 12:04 AM
This might be a dumb question but exactly where in the sky should I look to find Mars???

2003-Aug-19, 11:01 AM
depends where you are.
Im in Chester, England and its south east.

2003-Aug-19, 02:24 PM
It will roughly follow the path of the Moon or the Sun and the other planets. For me in Vancouver, it follows a path across the South. It's at its highest point in the early morning right now, but it rises for me around 9:00 pm.

2003-Aug-19, 04:19 PM
Hi there!
From Beaufort South Carolina I look up about 75 degrees from ground level horizon facing South about 3 am and there it is!

We had rain last night so it was a no show, but I know it is there? "They" tell me so! :unsure:

2003-Aug-20, 02:37 AM

Not knowing exactly what part of the world you are in, look to the South East. Mars is about the only thing that is very bright in that part of the sky, there is nothing as outstanding any where near the planet.

A bright Yellow-Orange Star-like object, that doesn't really twinkle. Star's Twinkle where as Planets do not. That is the difference between produced light and reflected light.

At anyrate, if by chance you can't find it (doubtful that you wouldn't find it), here is a nice photo of the Red Planet. By Thomas Williamson using a Philips ToUcam Pro Webcam his website can be found here at http://www.unm.edu/~abqtom/

Fraser Valley Astronomers Soc.
British Columbia Canada
http://www.fvas.net ;)

2003-Aug-20, 03:06 AM
Welcome to the Universe Today forums, FVAS, I was wondering when you'd show up. :-)

Wow, those are some amazing pictures. It's amazing what an amateur can achieve these days. Astrophotography has come a long way...

2003-Aug-20, 02:58 PM
Without sounding too Geek2ie, I would llike to clarify where to find Mars, as some of the postings suggest variations that are way beyond reality.

First of all, lets agree that Mars is in the "same place in the sky" for all of us on the planet for any given night, within any accuracy we are talking about with naked eye, binoculars and reasonable telescopes. That is, since early June until early December, it has been (will be) doing its retrograde loop in the constellation Aguarius (currently at approximately at 23 hr RA and -15 deg Dec).

But of course the question was where will I see it in "my sky" as seen from where I live and at a particular time of the night - both important details. Two useful features to latch on to wrt time - rise time & transit time. Rise time is obvious, transit time is the time that Mars crosses the line diirectly to the south of where you are located (or directly overhead if you are near -15deg latitude, or to the North of you if you are significantly South of -15deg latitude - Southern Austrailia). That lline is commonly called the "Local Meridian", as it depends on where you are standing on the planet. The whole sky passes by your local meridian in one day, (technically in 23 hr 56 min, but lets ignore that part for now). Or better, consider, as you ride the planet around in one day, your local meridian sweeps its way around the whole sky once. At some point it is going to cross Mars. That is the transit time of Mars.

Tuesday night (Wednesday morning) I observed Mars from my backyard in Toronto. Rise time was 9:12 pm, Transit 2:15 am, Set 7:12 am. I was out ~ 1:30 to 2:00 and so Mars was very close to directly South and close to its highest in the sky. Toronto is in about the middle of a time zone. Any other location on the globe in the middle of a time zone will have a similar transit time. Rising and setting times will be affected by latitude, with the moon visible a shorter time further north and longest time at about - 15deg latitude. If you are earlier in a time zone the times will be earlier, (Quebec City - rise 8:46, transit 1:43, set 6:39), and west in a time zone, later (Thunder Bay- west end of Lake Superior, but still EDT - rise 10:01, transit 2:54, set 7:47). Thus, no matter where you are on the globe, Vancouver, London England etc, the transit times will vary by at most about 1 hour, depending on where you are in a time zone.

I like one posting that suggested you look for Mars in the same part of the sky as you see the sun & the moon. The suns path describes the ecliptic, and Mars is very close to the ecliptic. One qualification about that: don't look for Mars along the current daylight sun path, but essentially what the sun path would be in February, thus a rather low arc through the sky for us notherners.

About height in the sky. Unfortunately, for us in the nothern hemispere, Mars remains rather low in the sky. How high will it get from your location? First of all, try to be out an hour or two either side of the transit time, to get Mars at the highest part of its arcing path through the sky. To calculate the maximum height at transit time, take your latitude, subtract it from 90deg, that is the height of the celestial equator, now subtract a further 15deg to get Mars' max height, since it is ~ 15 deg below the celestial equator right now. Thus for Toronto, Latitude 43deg the result is 90 - 43 -15 = 32deg. For Atlanta, latitude ~ 33 deg, Mars max height is still only 42deg above the horizon, no where near the 75deg suggestion for the South Carolinian. Easy to misjudge however, as 45deg does feel higher in the sky than it actually is.

Also, I encourage people to try to get an accurate location of N & S from their location. In working with students I often find their perception of S varies easily by +/- 45deg. It is common to use our streets as a guide and treat them as N-S, E-W. In a city like Chicago or Denver that is essentially true, but for most cities things get twisted easily by 45deg. Check with the north direction marker on a town map, or better still, find the pole star and note its orientation relative to your yard.

OK - so this is my first posting - and I did get carried away. Far too geeky, even for AstroGeek2. But I trust some may find it useful, and I hope I have not offended anyone. ;) ;)

Cheers & Clear Skies - AstroGeek2

Jose Carlos
2003-Aug-20, 05:22 PM
Hi Ladies & Gentlemans! We are from Mexico City, and this time its rain time in Mexico so we canīt see anything in the sky, is a desilution! but my fhater tell me that when he was young, in 1957 he canīt remember very well the year ( maybe some people can do it) he can see mars with no telescope in the east of mexico city at 9:00 p.m. and for 5 or 6 nights, and he said that event was unvelibed. realy is a pity that now is allways cloudy in Mexico.

2003-Aug-20, 06:09 PM
Like everything else Mars will rise in the east and set in the west, but otherwise it is generally high in the southern sky.
I aggree that knowing one's time zone and position on Earth is vital to determining what will be out and when. Which reminds me of something I'd been meaning to ask or discuss with Frasier.

What time zone is set for our postings and forum activities?
I'm in the Central time zone myself and I've noticed the time displayed with my postings are many hours different from my local time.

We need to pin down a standard that everyone can reconize.
Perhaps we can make it a habbit to announce our time zone and general longitude when discussing sightings or skies in our area.

It would be nice if we could all use one time reference, such as international date line or Zulu time, also known as Universal Time in Greenwich England.
But I'd likely be the first one to deveate from even that since I often forget how far behind I am from Greenwich Time.
I think I am 5 hours behind depending on wheither or not we are in daylight savings time.

Some kind of chart would likely be helpful with each time zone and it's difference from Greenwich. Which I have no idea how to go about doing, so saying we should have something like that is real easy for me when I'm not the one who has to set it up. But does it seem like it makes since. It does for me, but then I think in slightly different aspects from the norm.

That's my two pence worth anyway.

2003-Aug-20, 11:37 PM
Hey! Thanks to everyone who replied...though I probably should have specified that I'm in NH!
Last night I went out and looked and I think found it...or maybe not cuz I think I found it in the north east around 10:00 EST??? (unless I just don't know my cardinal directions). But I have a bunch of trees in my back yard blocking out my view of the south eastern horizon, so maybe it's just that I couldn't see it.
Could I have been seeing another planet?

2003-Aug-20, 11:46 PM
In Christchurch New Zealand at 8pm NZ time,wouldn't have a clue what time that is anywhere else. I look due east to the beach and up about 45 degrees to the perpendicular.We have had some nice clear nights lately although a bit frosty.Hope it stays that way.Kia ora (best wishes in Maori).

2003-Aug-24, 08:09 AM
We had a great Mars party this evening (saturday) with many instruments: an 8 and a 10 inch cassegrain, a 6 inch reflector, a 3 inch refractor, and an 18 inch, the star of the evening. When Mars finally ascended to a good height the view was quite good in all scopes with the polar icecap being visible. No Schiaperelli Canali though!

The deep space viewing was also quite good even though we are only 2 miles from town and the airport is not completely dark.

The electronics were not completely successful and we did not get any views up on monitors with the electronic eyepiece or another fully electronic scope.

The 18 inch homemade was very bright and clear, had to reduce the aperature for Mars viewing.

Had a raffle of relevent objects (including a 3d poser of mars!). Wish you all could have been there and I wish you similar luck with your Mars events.