Update for December 7th: It will begin the first of many webcasts of Mars at Opposition Tonight, December 7th at 9 PM EST (0200 December 8 GMT) And you can watch it directly above. The live broadcast will show views of Mars and the Moon from the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.
This week offers multiple opportunities for a great look at the Red Planet.
On Wednesday (December 7), the full moon will be close to bright Mars During an event known as a lunar occultation. And on Thursday (December 8), Mars will be in opposition, which means it’s in a landSky, you will find it directly opposite the sun. These events also coincide with Mars’ near perihelion (its closest point to Earth), which happened on November 30th.
The perfect storm of astronomical events means this is a great week for viewing Mars in the night sky, as it appears larger and brighter than usual and makes it easy to spot next to cold cold. And even if you have cloudy skies or can’t get out, you’re still in luck: There are plenty of chances to see Mars at its best this week thanks to several free live streams online.
How do you see Mars in person this week?
In many parts of North America, Europe, and some parts of North Africa, the occultation of the Moon will be visible in the night sky on December 7 and December 8.
The scene begins about an hour after sunset constellation Taurus On December 7 for skywatchers in North America as the full moon and Mars approach each other (in Europe, the event will occur before sunrise on December 8). Depending on the person’s location, the red planet will then disappear behind the Moon before reappearing an hour later.
Sky and Telescope have put together a guide about When and where can you see Mars (Opens in a new tab)It hides behind the Moon this week during a lunar occultation.
Griffith Observatory live broadcast of the disappearance of Mars on the lunar surface
on me Wednesday (7 December)Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California will host A Free live streaming on the Internet (Opens in a new tab) From the occultation of Mars on the moon. Broadcast will begin 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT on Dec. 8)Weather permitting. Mars will hide behind the moon 9:31 PM EST (0231 GMT) It reappears after one hour.
The observatory also uploaded a time-lapse recording of the event on Thursday (December 8) at 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT).
McDonald’s Observatory live broadcast of Mars in Opposition
The MacDonald Observatory at the University of Texas at Austin, in conjunction with the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, will host a live broadcast of Mars in opposition. Broadcasting begins Thursday (December 8) at 9 p.m. EST (0200 GMT on Dec. 9) It can be found at McDonald’s Observatory YouTube channel (Opens in a new tab).
Hosts from both observatories will provide commentary during the event, which will include discussions about the geology and history of Mars as well as spaceflight missions to the Red Planet. Weather permitting, the live feed will include live views of Mars against opposition from telescopes at both observatory sites.
The Virtual Telescope project is the live broadcast of the Moon obscuring Mars at opposition
The Virtual Telescope Project (Opens in a new tab) You will be hosting a free live stream of the Moon occulting Mars at opposition. Broadcast will begin 10 p.m. EST Thursday (0300 GMT on Dec. 9) It can be found at Project channel on YouTube (Opens in a new tab).
What does it mean when Mars is in opposition?
When astronomers say that there is a planet in opposition, it means that the planet, the Earth, and the Sun are all in a straight line, and the Earth is in the middle. This arrangement literally means the planet Reverse The sun, hence the term “opposition,” which makes the planet appear brightly lit from our vantage point on Earth.
When the Red Planet is in opposition, it is brighter than usual and therefore easier to see in the night sky. This event only occurs every 26 months, and the planet’s elliptical orbit means that during some oppositions Mars is closer to Earth than others.
During this week’s opposition, Mars will be closer to Earth than it will be until 2033. The Royal Astronomical Society has put together Great explanation (Opens in a new tab) on the event, including the video below.
What is Mars lunar occultation?
The word “obscure” means to hide or hide from view; When astronomers refer to a magical state, they mean an event in which one celestial body passes in front of another from the perspective of the observer, and hides behind it. In the event of a lunar occultation of Mars this week, this means that from Earth, the moon will appear to hide or “cover” the red planet. For many viewers, Mars will disappear behind the Moon for about an hour before reappearing.
There are enough unseen cases during any given year that there are International Association of Timers of Absence (Opens in a new tab) which provides detailed information such as exact locations and other occultation times.
Griffith Observatory has Post an explanatory video (Opens in a new tab) From the event, found below.
Read more: What is concealment?
Whether you’re new to skywatching or have been hooked on it for years, be sure not to miss our guides at best binoculars and the The best telescopes To watch obscured Mars and other incredible objects in the night sky. To take the best photos of Mars or the Moon, check out our recommendations for the best Astrophotography cameras And the The best lenses for astrophotography.
Editor’s note: If you took a great photo of Mars in opposition or moon occultation and would like to share it with Space.com readers, submit your photo(s), comments, name, and location to [email protected].