• Sunset at Menemsha jetty.
  • Albert O. Fischer

Ruby Red Mars

The week ahead is all about Mars. Mars is nearing opposition on April 8. It has been more than two years since the last opposition, and this time the planet is closer and bigger.

Mars has always been a mysterious planet. It is small. It is red. It has an atmosphere. Mars is a lot smaller than our Earth but considerably bigger than our Moon.

The only time astronomers and telescope owners get a good chance to visually look at Mars is around now, when its image is bigger and more clear.

You can see Mars rising in the east a short time after sunset. Go out later and it is higher in the sky. Through a pair of binoculars, Mars looks like a point of light. Even with a powerful telescope the planet is small. Only with a telescope so large that it requires two strong people to carry it, does the planet start to look like a planet.

In the nights ahead, amateur astronomers with large scopes will all be looking to identify the planet’s white North Polar Cap, one of the most pronounced features visible on the planet.

On Sunday night, the first quarter moon appears near the planet Jupiter. Jupiter is the biggest and brightest evening planet and it is high in the western sky after sunset.

The ringed-planet Saturn rises well after Mars rises. Saturn is in he zodiacal constellation Libra which means it is a far more southerly planet than the others and it rises closer to midnight.

 

Sunrise and Sunset
DaySunriseSunset
Fri., April 46:207:09
Sat., April 56:187:10
Sun., April 66:167:12
Mon., April 76:157:13
Tues., April 86:137:14
Wed., April 96:117:15
Thurs., April 106:107:16
Fri., April 116:087:17

Temperatures and Precipitations
DayMax (Fº)Min (Fº)Inches
March 2845270.00
March 2953370.08
March 3050401.83
March 3157350.00
April 138340.07
April 245280.00
April 351310.00

Water temperature in Edgartown harbor: 42º F.

 

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