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The 2016 Martian Opposition - Mars, the Moon, Saturn, and More!


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The time has come! Mars has been in obscurity since April of 2014, but now it is shining at magnitude -1.9/-2.1. This is the brightest Mars has been since 2005 and it's time to take advantage of that. Mars' opposition is May 22nd and it will appear very nice for the next 5-10 days. So, if anyone has the right equipment, observe Mars!


Mars is near Saturn, the Moon, and Antares, giving anybody a nice selection of beautiful astronomical objects to choose from. The nearby constellations of Scorpius and Ophiuchus have over a dozen clusters and nebulae combined and provide deep-sky observers a wide range of things to see. Farther away in the night sky is Jupiter. All of its moons are out, and Jupiter is also passing very close to some background stars. 


Anybody can post photographs of any objects they observe these nights. It is highly encouraged to post something about your observations, and to try and find surface features on Mars. I'll also be doing a bunch of observations, especially since I've missed every other Martian opposition.


If anybody wants to, they can have their pictures of Mars put up on this main page. Here are some of my best Mars pictures from my observations on May 20th:







Happy Observing!

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I got a few glimpses through the clouds last night, but wasn't able to resolve much detail beyond a small dark spot (in an 8" Newtonian). The ten day forecast is all clouds. Maybe I will get to get a better look in a few weeks.

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i finally got a chance to use my new telescope the other night and Mars was right next to a very bright moon (So bright the eyepiece of my telescope was like a dim flashlight, coool :) ) With a combination of my old and new eyepieces, i was able to get Mars magnified enough i could sorta see a darker spot like in the OP's first and third photos, i ordered a iphone holder that attaches to my eyepiece so when i get that i can take pictures :D

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Got out with my little Skywatcher Heritage 76. Got nothing on Mars, just a bright orangey-red disc with no discernible surface features. Saturn was better, the rings were clear and at 50x I thought I saw a dark line across Saturn's equator-ish, but I'm not sure if that's real or my eyes making things up. Don't think it's the ring shadows, they ought to not be visible at present. Really my scope isn't cut out for planetary viewing.

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6 hours ago, Dartguy said:

I viewed Mars last weekend and it was the first time I have ever seen any features.  Was a great surprise!

Just saw Mars today with my 7 inch. I think it's my first time seeing the planet disk, even though i own this telescope for years, mainly orange but barely recognizable darker bands, its apparent size is slightly the same size as Saturn, which I observed next, with Titan next to it.

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