Friday, 27 February 2015

See three planets in a line on 1st March

Use the very bright planet Venus as your guide to also see Mars and Uranus closeby. The attached image (with thanks to the superb Stellarium planetarium software) shows the arrangement:-

A pair of binoculars is all you need, but a telescope will allow you to see more (including the phase of Venus).  If you look low down to the west at 19.00 on 1st March, Venus will be easy to spot as it is very bright.  Then look down to see the slightly red Mars, appearing as a very small disc.  Now the tough one.  Uranus is very faint, but just check the image above before you go out to look for the planets. Move in a straight line from Mars up to Venus.  Continue this line the same distance the other side up from Venus. Look hard and you will see Uranus.  If you look very carefully, you may be able to see the tiny disc that shows you have the planet rather than the dot of a star. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

View Venus and Mars close together

21st & 22nd February - Mars & Venus are very close at dusk in the west.  
Look at the view this evening (20th February):-

The crescent Moon was spectacular and you could see the rest of the Moon by the light reflected back from Earth.  The very bright gibbous phase of Venus was easy to see and then, just above, you could make out the slightly red view of Mars.  The Moon will have moved on tomorrow and the crescent will have increased in size, but Venus and Mars will be even closer than seen in the photograph above.