Planets To See In The Sky Tonight

Tuesday 25th of November 2014

Solar System Planets“What planets can I see in the sky tonight?”

“Is Mars visible?”

Look no further, with this page you can keep track of the planets daily. I tell you where they are in the sky if visible, with rising/setting times, and interesting details on each. Also information about how long you’ll be able to see them in the sky. Apart from Neptune, it is possible to see all with your unaided eyes…

Based on view from UK, approximately 56 degrees north.

Times are  GMT, 1 hour is added for BST between March 25th and October 28th


 

A quick glance

Mars (Early to mid evening)

Venus (Out of sight, returns in evenings from 27th of December)

Jupiter (Early hours to pre dawn, north east)

Saturn (Out of sight, returns Early December)

Mercury (Pre dawn, east)

Neptune (Early evening to pre dawn)

Uranus (Early evening to pre dawn)


Mars

Mars

About

Mars is on view after dark, very low in the south west in the glow dusk. But the coming months of darker evenings will make Mars a more obvious evening planet.

Mars, the freeze dried desert world is smaller than Earth, but it does things on  a big scale. It lays claim to the biggest volcano in the solar system that’s so large it would cover Arizona, and the solar system’s longest and deepest canyon. Mars was shaped by liquid water around 4 billion years ago, and is a site of interest in the search for past or present alien lifeThe Nasa Rover Opportunity is still driving around on that red light in the night sky, and the car sized Nasa Rover ‘Curiosity’ landed there on August 6th 2012 to search for habitable environments. Mars continually produces methane, a gas that quickly breaks down in the atmosphere. There are only two ways methane is made, either geological activity or biological, and Mars is thought to be a geologically dead world. Moons, PhobosDeimos.

Where and when…

Tonight you can see Mars very low in the south west after dark. It has a magnitude of  1.17 and an angular size of 5.0″ arc seconds. It is on view until early to mid evening, setting in the west at 7.15 pm.

Mars is at opposition on April 8th 2014

For how long?…

Mars will still be visible in the sky for a while, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to observe it. The red planet won’t go out of sight until the end of April 2015, joining Mercury and Venus in the north west at dusk, when it moves into the glare of the Sun.

 


 

JUPITER

Jupiter and moons

About

Jupiter has returned and is now a late evening/morning planet rising from the north east. It climbs in the east until disappearing into the light of daybreak.

Jupiter is the solar system’s largest planet showing its four moons and even its cloud belts in good binoculars on a tripod. The gas giant could hold more than 11 Earths across its diameter, it has 2.5 times the mass of all the other planets combined, and the whole thing spins around on its axis in 10 hours making it the fastest rotating planet.

Like other planets Jupiter has a still light, without the twinkling of a star. Even in binoculars (10×40 or 10×50’s), you should be able to spot Jupiter’s four moons as pinpoints of light spread out in a line around the planet’s disk.

Main moons, Io, Callisto, Ganymede, Europa

 

Where and when…

Tonight towards the east you can see Jupiter. It rises from the north east at at 10.10 pm, and has a magnitude of -1.78, and an angular size of 39 arc seconds

When will Jupiter next be at opposition?

For how long?…

After Jupiter’s return in August it will stay with us until it goes out of sight in July 2015.

 

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Saturn (out of sight)

Saturn

About

Saturn  has now gone out of sight in the glare of the setting Sun in the west. But it returns as a morning planet in Early December.

When seen with your naked eye Saturn looks like a yellowish “star”. Look through a telescope and you’ll see Saturn’s rings, with some atmospheric detail on the planet. The rings are at a nice angle for viewing. Through a telescope not only the planet will be visible, but some of its moons too. Saturn could get 755 Earths into its volume, and has a storm at its north pole in the shape of a Hexagon with 6 straight sides, each 13,800 kilometres long. The mysterious “Earth like” world Titan is the largest and brightest of Saturn’s moons, with hills, valleys, rivers, lakes, wind, and rain.

Moons, Titan, Rhea, Iapetus, Dione, Tethys, Enceladus, Mimas, Hyperion, Phoebe, Janus, Epimetheus, Pandora, Prometheus, and down to smaller and smaller moons totalling 60.

 

Where and when…

Saturn is now out of sight as it moves behind the Sun in its orbit. But it returns as a morning planet from the 4th of December 2014, rising from the east at around 6.40 am. It will have a magnitude of 0.71 and an angular size of 36 arc seconds.

When will Saturn next be at opposition?

For how long?…

The ringed planet went out of sight in late October 2014. After its return in Early December 2014 it will be visible until late October 2015 when it again moves into the glare of the setting Sun.

 


 

Venus (out of sight)

Venus

About

Venus has moved out of sight in the mornings back into the glare of the Sun again, to pass on its far side. But it will return after Christmas at around the 27th of December as an evening planet starting to become visible low in the south west at 5.00 pm.

**But be sure to check out Venus at dusk on the 11th of January when it is in a close conjunction with Mercury at just over half a degree apart Venus:Mercury 11th Jan 14

**It gets better, Venus performs an even closer conjunction with Mars on the evening of February the 11th, and higher in the west Venus:Mars 22nd Feb 15

**Yet another conjunction in the offing as Venus passes by Jupiter at under half a degree, on the evening of the 30th of June 2105 Venus:Jupiter 30th June 2015

Venus, Earth’s “Evil Twin” is the third brightest object in the sky after the Sun and Moon. This is because of the planets thick, dense atmosphere…its sulphuric acid clouds reflecting sunlight almost like a mirror. This world is roughly the same size and mass as Earth but the planet has undergone a runaway greenhouse effect, making the surface hot enough to melt lead. It orbits backwards so the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east, but it rotates so slowly that the Venusian day is longer than the Venusian year. With searing heat, and atmospheric pressure equivalent to being nearly a mile under the sea, this place would be a vision of hell.

Moons, none.

Where and when…

Venus is now out of sight, while it passes behind the Sun to return after Christmas as an evening planet low in the south west at dusk.

For how long?…

When Venus returns in late December 2014 it gradually climbs higher to become much more visible, be sure to check out its conjunctions with Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter. Venus’s furthest elongation from the Sun comes on the 4th of April 2015, and it will disappear in the light nights at the end of July 2015.

 

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Mercury

Mercury

About

Mercury’s last two visits to our skies made it a very difficult object to spot in the light of dusk and dawn, as it stayed low hugging the horizon. But now Mercury will be a much easier planet to see in the pre dawn sky.

Mercury is nicknamed the “elusive planet”, generally you have to know where it is and when, if you want to get a look at it. Being the planet that is closest to our Sun, Mercury never strays far from it, so you can only ever see it either just after sunset or just before sunrise. For this reason.. Never attempt to look at Mercury through any type of optical aid when any part of the Sun is above the horizon, as eye damage can occur.

Moons, none.

 

Where and when…

You can see Mercury in the pre dawn Eastern sky as it rises at 7.05 am. It has a magnitude of -0.71, and an angular size of 5 arc seconds

For how long?

Mercury’s furthest elongation from the Sun comes on the 1st of November when it will be at magnitude -0.31.It will then stay visible until around the 23rd of November when it moves back into the Sun’s glare making it difficult to spot.

It then returns in early December as an evening planet, check out its conjunction with Venus on 11th of January.

 


 

The Ice Giants

Uranus and Neptune are more of a challenge to observe than the inner planets like Mars and Venus, so you will usually need a larger telescope, you will not normally see them naked eye. They will appear as small disks, even in a large amateur scope.

Uranus

Uranus

About

Uranus has returned rising in the south east from early evening, and stays visible until the pre dawn where it sets in the west.

Uranus is the second furthest planet from the Sun, and the coldest world in the solar system. Uranus is made of gas hydrogen and helium, and also water ice, methane, and ammonia. It lies out at roughly 3 billion kilometres from the Sun, and orbits it once every 84 years. Uranus is lying on its side compared to all the other planets, as something catastrophic happened early on knocking the planet way of kilter. This might have been a collision with another planet sized object in the chaotic environment, and  jostling for position of the young solar system. Uranus is so badly affected that in its 84 year orbit around the Sun, the south pole gets continuous sunlight while the north is in permanent darkness. Then for the other 42 years the north gets bathed in sunshine, while the south gets the darkness.  Moons, Miranda, Ariel, Umbria, Titania, Oberon, and smaller and smaller satellites totalling 27.

 

Where and when…

You can spot Uranus rising low in the east after dark, it has a magnitude of 6.08, and a diameter of 3 arc seconds. It sets in the west before dawn

When will Uranus next be at opposition?

For how long?…

Uranus returned in mid June 2014 as a morning planet, and stays visible until late March 2015 when it again nears the Sun in the west at dusk.

 


 

Neptune

Neptune

About

Neptune has returned from early evening, rising from the south after dark. It says visible until after midnight, where it sets in the west.

Neptune is the furthest planet out from the Sun, but not the coldest. Uranus is actually colder even though it’s the second furthest from the Sun, as its internal heat source seems to have shut down. Neptune’s vivid blue colour is due to methane in its atmosphere. This ice giant is a long way out, and even in large telescopes it will appear small and star like.

Moons, Triton, Proteus, Nereid, Larissa, Galatea, Despina, Thalassa, Naiad, Halimede, Sao, Laomedeia, Neso, and Psamathe.

 

Where and when…

Neptune is climbing from the south east horizon after dark in constellation Aquarius. It has a magnitude of 7.71, and a diameter of 2.0 arc seconds.

When will Neptune next be at opposition?

For how long?…

Neptune will be with us until the beginning of February 2015 when it moves low in the west at sunset, joining Venus and Mars.

John Brady.

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113 comments » Write a comment

  1. Thank you, very easy to understand, I’m setting things up to see Saturn tonight with a telescope, it’s a first… hopefully I’ll get it right for my young daughter !

  2. Tonight (Aug. 20) just after sunset, about 9 pm PDT(?), I saw 3 planets. One low in the west (Venus?), one higher in the sky, and one even higher in the sky. Can you tell me what they were. I’m sure they are planets because they were visible before any stars and so must be planets. I want to share the info with visitors from Germany. We had a lovely evening eating a late supper on the deck and looking at the sunset and the night-time sky. We live on the west coast of Canada about 60 miles north west of Vancouver. Thanks for your help.

    • Hi thanks for your question, sorry for the late reply.

      Yes it definitely sounds like Venus that you saw low in the west, the one higher up to the left would have been Saturn.

      But the one higher up still could have not been a planet, it was probably the red supergiant star Arcturus.

  3. thanks – so clear and concise… Just had beautiful view of Venus from London at sunset :-)

    • Thanks Lehani, I love Venus it’s such a nice naked eye planet. Venus will get even better when the nights darken as we go into winter.

    • Comet ISON could be as good or better than Comet Hale Bopp was in 1997, and it’s heading our way at over 50,000 mph. It is due to pass over Mars in late September when the Curiosity Rover and Mars orbiting spacecraft will try to image it. It should be visible in our skies by November if it comes up to expectations, but comets are very unpredictable so it could be the comet of the century, or amount to not much.

      If it performs the way scientists think, it will be very visible in the northern hemisphere night skies. http://www.cometison2013.co.uk/

  4. Hi,
    I would like if you could maby email me all the pitchers of tonight.I really like science so if you sent it to me I would hang it up in my room.You don’t have to but it would be nice if you could.Email me so I now if you can or can’t before you send me the pitchers.
    xoxo
    Love Amanda

  5. I diden’t get a email today telling if you can send me the picters or not.I t is the next day I changed my mind maby every day you can send me the pitchers of each night.Not to say you have to but if you can.I gust want to say Pretty Please.
    Love Love Love LoveLove Amanda

  6. Thies picters look geat.Ow by the way I will keep riting coment’s untill you email me back.I hope it’s a yes to the picters.
    Love Amanda

  7. Thies picters look geat.Ow by the way I will keep riting coment’s untill you email me back.I hope it’s a yes to the picters.
    Love Amanda
    Great Website.Email me back.
    Love Amanda

    • Hi Amanda, the planet images on this page stay the same, and aren’t from any particular night.

      But I can give you even better than that. Go to this nasa page http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/ there’s hundreds of images of all the planets and their moons. You just need to right click on any picture you want, and download it to your computer.

      Hope that helps :)

  8. Hi,
    A bright looking star (or so I initially thought) caught my eye in the sky tonight (05-10-13, around 7pm facing West to Southwest, in London), after a quick search on the internet I discovered your website but now I can’t decide if I saw Venus or Saturn. I don’t have a telescope… any ideas which it could have been and how to tell without using a telescope?
    By the way, loads of great info on your website! Thanks!

    • Hi Sneha,

      If the bright star/planet was quite low in the south west at the time you said, then yes it would have been the planet Venus. It’s possible it could have been the red giant star Arcturus, higher up, but definitely more to the west.

      Saturn has now moved out of sight into the sun’s glow at dusk.

      • Thank you for your reply.
        I now like to keep an eye out for Venus around sunset (when it’s not cloudy)!

  9. ive just bought a 75pound telescope ad a good look at the stars didnt know were to look but surly this website will help ime into ufos and aliens aswell ya c

  10. Thanks for your info, simple to understand.
    You probably dont know any better but Venus was a COMET, I think 600 BC?? Caused devastaion to Earth at the time. Ancient written and verbal records from all over the world indicate this. You are repeating Fairytail Science, WHICH is a little bit of fact and a whole lot of THEORY. Theory that mostly does not work out. By the way, “theory” is equal to “belief” and we all know a belief system is considered a religion. So those who think science is not a religion… think again, you have been indoctrinated to believe its fact when it is NOT.
    Also a pair binoculars with lenses for astronomy will probably be more satisfying than most cheap (less than a thousand) telescopes.

  11. Hi, writing from the UK. I am in Midlands. At 4am, if I look east right above me is a bright planet. Almost vertically from it (but more like ’10-11 o’clock’) are two points, the first is higher. Not glittering. I think there’s another below. I thought they may be moons but seem too spaced (pardon the pun).

    What am I seeing? Jupiter?

    • Hi, yes the bright planet you see is Jupiter. The other bright points sound to me to be the 2 bright stars in Gemini, which are Castor and Pollux.

  12. I think I just saw Jupiter about 11; 50in the south west. got my spotting scope out (45X ).it looks like its got about 4 moons ,three on the lower side and one above. happy days… nights lol

  13. I am seeing something very big and bright, bigger that Venus, on the horizon at dusk. What is it? Could it be ISON?
    Thanks :)

    • Hi Sanatha, no I think that’s definitely Venus. Comet ISON is rising nearby Mars in the early hours at the moment, and not yet visible to your unaided eye.

  14. Hi John
    I’ve seen a very bright looking star tonight at 11.00pm, northeast in Bedfordshire, do you know what it is? It looks beautiful.
    Loving this website John, keep up the good work, it’s much appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Rachel.

  15. Hi, please help me..? I have taken a picture of a planet at 11.45pm looking east into the night ski. I cant work out which one it is. Taken with a canon 450d 300mm lens at full focus length 1600 iso slow shutter speed of 25 sec using tripod and remote switch. HELP just started sky pics and I am very pleased.

    Many thanks

    Paul.

    • Hi Paul, I think you were seeing Jupiter, it is very bright.

      Try looking at it through binoculars and and see if you can see the 4 moons.

  16. Just seen very bright object near horizon directly south west. Came to this website to find out what it is. Judging from the location and description, I assume it must be Venus. It’s the first time I’ve ever consciously seen and enquired about this planet.

  17. hi was just looking out my window and saw what looked like Venus except I knew it wasn’t. I checked on Google star maps and it could have been Jupiter but I’m not sure. is it possible it was Jupiter, it looked bright and yellow, big but not as big as Venus and wasn’t twinkling. thanks Alex

    • Hi Alex, if it was quite high up in the SE after midnight and bright, then yes it sounds like Jupiter you saw. Venus is visible shortly after sunset in the SW

  18. hi, can you tell me what would have been the bright (star?) i saw at 7.50 am beside the moon last thursday morning, it was vivid in the the daylight but quickly gone 15 minutes later……moon was south/ s west at a guess, thank you

  19. Hi John what an easy to use and informative website , I came across your site a few weeks back ,and it is now my first port of call for all things celestial…i`ve been interested in the night sky for some time and have recently got a Skywatcher Skyliner 200p Dobsonian, already got a look at the Andromeda galaxy, and the `ET` cluster thru it…stunning both of them. clear skies here at moment ( Gloucestershire ) ,am setting up to look at Jupiter and also the Orion nebula on orion`s belt later….

    clear skies everyone
    Paddy

  20. Thanks Paddy. Hey nice scope you have there, easy to use and set up. I also have a Skywatcher, a 200p on an eq5 mount.

    Clear skies to you in Gloucestershire, and enjoy the site.

  21. Hi John,
    I just discovered your site and it has been invaluable in my daily lessons. As a teacher here in South Carolina, I have always instilled the love of Astronomy in all grades that I have taught. Before going home for the day, the children want to know “what to look for” in this evenings sky. Your descriptions have assisted us in pinpointing where to focus our eyes in correlation to their surrounding environment. Such a joy when they arrive the next morning and want to share “their” discoveries. Please keep up the good work, so many young Astronomers are sharing your passion.
    Beth & The Kids

    • Thank you Beth,

      That is one of the best messages I’ve ever received on the site. It is great to know that the information here reaches far and wide, and is influencing young minds.

      Best regards to you Beth & The Kids.

  22. hello,
    your site is very good.
    i am quite familiar with the night sky.i work in a school and would like to share my passion about astronomy with the students.how to make them interested in night sky watching.if you can advice i would be grateful.

    • Hi Mukesh, I think you could try telling them that the Sun is a star, and all the stars they see in the night sky are also suns. Our Sun is just one of hundreds of billions in our galaxy, and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies. A lot of the stars they see in the night sky have planets going around them, and they could be teeming with alien life, know one knows.

      When they view a galaxy like Andromeda through a scope or binoculars, it is a real galaxy, it is colossal, with billions of stars and planets, and probably life. It is not sci-fi or CGI special effects it is real, the light they see has been travelling for millions of years across the cosmos. Who knows what’s actually in that galaxy.

      I think when people get under a truly dark sky and see the Milky Way arching overhead it changes their perspective, and often gets them into astronomy for life, many people have never seen that.

  23. Hi John,
    we got our son a telescope for christmas and we set it up and had a look around the sky, at first it was difficult to see anything but kids being kids my son focused on the brightest star in the sky and wow what an amazing site, the planet was a light grey colour and from were we live was in the north east around 6pm, the only problem is we haven’t got a clue which one it is, ha ha We got up at 6 this morning and had an hour looking at the moon which blew us away a truely amazing site, but absolutely freezing cold
    Is there an easy way to tell or a website for info were i can find what is were at what times
    any help would be appreciated, your website is very good by the way
    cheers Phil & Michael

    • Hi Phil & Michael, the planet if very bright and in the east could have been Jupiter. Look again one night, and even with binoculars it’s possible to see its 4 moons.

      To see what’s in the night sky, I think the best thing you could do is to download the excellent and free planetarium software Stellarium at http://www.stellarium.org

  24. Just began to become interested in the night sky,so as you could understand i need clear simple instructions on where to find the planets which is achieved by your website fantastically.Thanks from a budding astronomer.

  25. For my Dads birthday i got him some big binoculars and you can see some amazing things while looking at the sky and we saw a grey circle with a lot of craters on it and we don’t know if it is a plant or the moon Poole Dorset UK.

  26. Would like to know if Binoculars would be better to buy then a telescope ? Seen Binoculars at 70 to 100 power, thanks.

    • Binoculars are a great start for astronomy, they’re very portable and easy to use. They’re very good for scanning the Milky Way, looking at star clusters, the Orion Nebula etc. Some things like the larger open clusters look better in binoculars than a telescope.

      They are good for quickly learning the night sky, without the more technical issues of setting up a telescope.

  27. What a great introductory site to the night sky.
    We have bought my 10 year old a telescope for xmas – and by using your site he and is sister are out in the garden checking out the night sky right now.
    By the way – you recommended Stellarium.I was about to set it up and the 1st step asks me to make a site my home page and default search engine – is that right?

    Thanks again

    • Thanks Mike.

      I’m not sure…you don’t have to make anything your home page, or default search engine. After you download and install Stellarium onto your computer it is independent of the internet, it’s on your computer for your use.

  28. After wondering what the low, bright star visible in the sky directly towards the South West was, then looking at it again through binoculars and seeing it clearly as a tiny, cream-coloured crescent moon, I managed to find your website and work out which planet it is – Venus. Thank you so much for making a reliable Astronomical website.

    • Thanks Chris, it can seem strange seeing another body in the night sky appearing as a crescent, other than the Moon.

  29. I have twice taken a photograph of Jupiter, one on 17 Nov 2011 and other on 19 Nov 2011 and
    they puzzle me as they show that Jupiter appears to have 5 visible moons.
    Would appreciate any views because I understand only 4 moons are supposed to be visible.
    Have asked this question before and not received a response but hope this time someone may be
    able to offer an explanation.

  30. Jupiter only has 4 moons, Europa, Io, Ganymede, and Callisto visible as four pinpoints around the planet. The 5th object was probably a background star.

  31. i am new to astronomy, having got a jessops telescope, to begin with, to enhance my interest in the stars..
    I have a thought though.. if the moon go around the earth.The earth and other planets go around the sun…Our solar system goes around in the milky way..All due to gravity i guess assuming something as dense as a black hole exists in the middle of the milky way.
    So, do galaxies orbit around something which is so super massive and dense to keep an order in the universe, or do galaxies just travel aimlessly throughout space…
    I may be stupid, but everything planet/star orbits something else which is more dense etc, so just thought i would through this out there and see what comes back!
    Cheers…chris

  32. Hi Chris, that’s a good question. Gravity is the dominant force in the Universe, moons orbit planets, planets orbit stars, stars in the Milky Way orbit around the central core. Objects of mass exert an effect on space time ,disturbing it, and the bigger the mass then the bigger gravity well the object exerts. Such as the bowling ball on a rubber sheet, anything of smaller mass will be drawn towards it.

    The Milky Way has smaller companion dwarf galaxies that do as far as is known, orbit around it but will probably in time become part of the Milky Way. Larger galaxies group together in clusters, each galaxy having a gravitational effect on others in its neighbourhood. They collect around a larger central mass, usually the biggest and most dominant galaxy in the group. They don’t orbit in the usual sense, but effect each other with gravitational tidal forces, ripping stars from each other in galaxy collisions, mergers etc. A galaxy’s gravity influence is far more complex than a star, planet, or moon. A small galaxy getting too near a much larger galaxy would’t just orbit like a moon around a planet, but over hundreds of millions of years would eventually be swallowed up by the larger galaxy.

    John

  33. I’ve just bought a telescope, first clear night to look at the night sky, great view of the moon, and I believe I have seen Neptune(south east) but couldn’t really get a good view or focus on it to tell for sure, do you have any tips to get a better view.

    • Pretty positive it couldn’t have been Neptune, with it being so far out it the ice giant only appears starlike, even in larger scopes. Also it is now going out of sight near to the setting Sun very low in the west. Try Jupiter high in the sky during the evening, you should see its moons, or Mars or Saturn in the mornings.

  34. I live in Gloucestershire and at 6 o’clock this morning I peeked out of the window at a (somewhat rare and amazingly) cloudless sky and a dazzlingly bright Venus. I don’t think I have ever seen it that bright before. Awesome.

    Great site / good info. I just looked it up to check up on what it was I just saw in the sky. Cheers.

  35. Good pix. Yours is good but that one above – by Spicey-Spiney – is really awesome. G.

  36. I am not even a novice, but have been looking at the evening sky and trying to pick out the planets that may be on view. And the absent lighting in London makes this a little difficult. But at around midnight what planet would you see at around 300-degrees NW? This, of course, from a compass on my iPone.

    • Hi Patrick, what you might have seen was the star Capella, it is quite bright. Slightly over to the west would be Jupiter in Gemini.

  37. Hi,

    I’m just starting out and this website is a blessing. For me, going from a standing start, the ‘where and when’ is the essential piece of information as it is easy to become confused.

    I recently bought a set of 10×50 for cheap but think already the quality will not be good enough. Am I right? Is there a figure that gives a rough guide of the price of a modest pair of binoculars? Mine were around a tenner. One thing they are great for is bringing forward areas of the sky that looked empty before but reveal faint clusters. I will persist at least until I know my way around a little better.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Gareth, thanks.

      10 X 50?s are the perfect size for starting out in astronomy. I have a pair of 10 X 40?s that I bought new for £50 and they are great. Don’t think about how much you paid for them, see how they perform. I think you must have bought them second hand for just £10, you might have a bargain. Do the the stars easily focus to tiny points of light without blurring, and is the image you see nice and bright? If so then they’ll be fine, you’re already picking out faint clusters. Test them on Jupiter and try and spot the 4 moons.

      John

  38. Hi,
    This morning, in west London would you know why the moon was red whilst setting.
    Many thanks.

    • Hi johnson, when the Moon is low to the horizon its light has to pass through a lot of Earth’s atmosphere compared to when it’s overhead. Most of its light gets scattered by the atmosphere, except red, red light can more easily pass through the dust and and pollution, so a red Moon is what you see.

  39. it is very cloudy tonight in my part of the world plus i dont have any telescope so cant see any planets but would have loved to. if anyone has any telescope that u can spare i will be grateful.

  40. according to the curiosity analysis, in 2013, its been reported that there is basically very little, like very little methane on mars, so the comment about mars continually producing methane and the inference that it is from a biological source seems weird

  41. Great to see Jupiter,Mars and Saturn with the naked eye tonight in clear skies from South Shropshire.

  42. Hello there

    Last night just before nightfall my son spotted a planet whilst looking at the moon. It was in the South West sky and almost ‘touching’ the beautiful waxing gibbous moon. I guessed it was Jupiter but I am not sure. (We are in the UK.)

  43. june 26th2014, just want to know the bright star next to Spica in low south west is Mars?

  44. Thank you for your informative site. The planet I saw at 4am this morning in West cornwall in the north east sky was Mercury. Knowing little about astronomy I turned to your site in the hope of identifying what I knew must be a planet due to its size and brightness. You didn’t disappoint. So easy to use. Thank you. Will visit again.

  45. I cant seem to see a lot of stars in the sky when I look at night, even when it is late. Is this because of light pollution. If so, what are some ways I can avoid it.

    Thanks

    • Hi Bob, the only way to avoid light pollution is to try and get away from it. If you live in or near a city this will have an effect on how many stars/planets you can see, due to the sky glow washing out the light of the stars. Neighbour’s security lights are also a big problem, even when you’re away from general light pollution. Try heading out into the countryside away from towns and cities as much as possible, you might be surprised at how much you see. Especially in the darker nights of autumn and winter.
      http://www.need-less.org.uk/

      John

      • Thanks a lot, I will try my best to get as far from the city as I can and hopefully see more stars or planets.

  46. I just got a new telescope which has a 60mm aperture and a 700mm focal length. Is this telescope good enough to be able to see planets ,stars or the moon with some detail?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Alex, the one object this telescope will give the best views of is the Moon. It will reveal craters, and shadows cast along the terminator, the line between light and dark side of the Moon. So the best time to view will be when the Moon is in a phase such as crescent etc. A full Moon or near full is not the best time to see lunar features, even in large telescopes.

      Try Jupiter when it returns from early august, showing a small disk with its 4 moons, and yes you can also see some of the larger star clusters. Remember that magnifying too much with your scope will create a dimmer image, due to the smaller aperture.

  47. Hi John, I am planning to buy a telescope and I’m not sure what model to go for, would you happen to know a good telescope for seeing planets and stars up close?

  48. Hi Daniel, the Skywatcher models always seem to get good reviews. I have one myself, an 8 inch aperture reflector on an eq5 motorised mount.

    But for beginners the dobsonian type is usually recommended, as they are very quick and easy to set up. The term dobsonian refers to the telescope mount not the scope itself, the actual tube assembly of the reflector telescope is the same as one on a equatorial mount for example. Dobs are normally operated by hand, so you just move the scope around to point where you want it in the sky. They are great for beginners getting into astronomy but not really designed to track an object in the sky, or for serious astrophotography. Although there may be products out there that will make it track for you. As telescopes go the most important thing to remember is aperture, the diameter of the main mirror, the bigger the aperture you can get the better.

    • I have a 6 inch Skywatcher on a dob mount. Brilliant starter scope, straight ou of the box results. Our 1st planet with it was Jupiter, amazing, Saturn has to be the best though. That was about a year ago, and it’s still working fine with no problems. I am careful with it! Now have a few different lenses and a camera mount. Yet to master photos, I’m aiming to get a good photo of the moon or Saturn, and blow it up for wall display. Now that must be cool!

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