Go outside, enjoy the red planet

Hey, there’s a bright light in the sky these nights, due to Mars being the closest it’s been to Earth in thousands of years. Looks like a really bright star, with a bit of an orange tint (or I might just be imagining that).
So take a walk outside, relax a bit and dream of space, I’m sure you’ve all deserved it.

With a cheap telescope and steady base you can make out quite a bit of detail. No astonomy expertise required!

It was real easy to see during the east coast black out, heh – seriously, without the effect of city lights, it was pretty stunning.

Even with light pollution, it’s pretty stunning. Here in LA, during a full moon, it was very visible. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s even brighter than Jupiter, which is quite an accomplishment.


I can imagine. Just going out to my family’s country place, about half an hour from this suburb I live in now, the difference in number of stars one can see is amazing. Light pollution, I think, is a really sad phenomenon.

I’ve been looking at it for about a week now. Bright light, orange tint, and knew it was a planet. I considered looking it up but who needs to with Anders Hallin around?

Now, is my science totally off if I assume this isn’t visible to our Aussie friends?

I saw it last week, but didn’t know it was still around. I’ll have to tell my wife – she’ll be happy.

It will be at it’s closest on August 27-28. Only 56 000 000 kilometers away!

I’ve seen it since the beginning of August, by the way, just after I heard that it was getting close, so it will probably be quite bright for a while yet.

Totally off it is. :wink:


I’ll be heading out of the city this weekend to do some hiking, so I should get some great views then.

Shot this two nights ago with my Panasonic FZ1 digital camera (12x zoom) and an Olympus B300 1.7x teleconverter. The image has been cropped, but not resized.

Obviously nothing great astronomical discoveries will be made from, but pretty damned impressive results for a handheld digital camera not attached to a telescope…

It is a pretty stunning sight, especially when it’s near the moon. I live in a tiny town, with little light pollution, and have a big southern window in my living room, so I’ve been able to watch Mars every night for something like two months now. I’m going to miss it when it goes away.

I don’t find it quite as cool as Hale-Bopp was, though, because you could actually see the tail of the comet, unaided. That was sort of spooky, because it was so different than anything else in the sky, and so obviously moving. Made me understand why the ancients often thought they were portents of doom.

Yep, called evil star or dis aster. One of the coolest etymolygies(?) I know of.

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See it now–it won’t be this close again for another 60,000 years. And yeah, you can see the orange tint of the Mars sands with the naked eye–Anders wasn’t imagining it. You get a great view with even a cheap telescope.