Author Topic: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction  (Read 2245 times)

Prana

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Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« on: December 09, 2016, 10:10:43 AM »
Hey TACos -

All your astrology friends will be having a field day on NYE for this conjunction of Mars and Neptune.  Early in the evening, in Aquarius, they'll be only 9 arc-minutes apart, and by 9 in the evening when they'll be heading for the horizon, only 3-1/2 arc-minutes separation, like a tight double star.

For those not knowing how close these distances are visually, 9 arc-minutes is about 1/3rd the diameter of our full moon.

Clear skies are in my forecast, so get your scopes ready.  It would be fun to see what the smallest instrument is that can see this separation.

The evening will also feature a nice young crescent moon and bright Venus.  A NYE treat.

Mark

John Pierce

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2016, 11:45:06 AM »
3 arc minutes should be easily distinguished even in a tiny refractor at 25X or so (its <3 arc-SECONDS thats a tight double).   question is whether you can see Neptune, and that requires dark skies and a bit of aperture

Prana

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2016, 11:55:12 AM »
3 arc minutes should be easily distinguished even in a tiny refractor at 25X or so (its <3 arc-SECONDS thats a tight double).   question is whether you can see Neptune, and that requires dark skies and a bit of aperture

Thanks John, you're right - arc-seconds.  Don't you think binos will see it?  Neptune is mag 7.8.

John Pierce

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2016, 12:46:20 PM »
against a dark sky?  maybe.   big binos?     my club has a pair of Oberwerk 100mm f/6 binos :)   with 14mm they are 42x100, and as the eyepieces are 82 deg. wide, they give a ~2 degree field of view.  great fun on open clusters and such.

Prana

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2016, 09:17:45 AM »
Posting this as a reminder for tonight.  Anyone going to give it a try?  I'm going to take my 10" Dob with me, end the year in a pure public-party display of cool astro-nerdism.  8)

sgottlieb

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2016, 05:44:08 PM »
Just set up my 8" dob in my driveway in Albany (5:30) and Neptune is easily visible in the same 24' field with Mars at 174x.  Of course, it doesn't really take any significant magnification to see Neptune as a "star", so check it out!

As it's dark now (6:30), Neptune is also fairly easy to see in my 50mm binoculars.  Roughly at the 11:00 position from Mars.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2016, 06:44:48 PM by sgottlieb »

Peter Natscher

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2016, 07:15:15 PM »
I can see them nicely in my tripod-mounted 10x54 binos.

John Pierce

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2016, 07:36:13 PM »
nice.  easy in the XT8 with either a 25mm (48X) or 8.8mm (135x)

sgottlieb

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2016, 07:37:05 PM »
I was actually using 15x50 Canon IS binoculars.

Separation is now 6' at 7:30 -- heading in the direction of 0, like the time left in this year. 

I need over 200x, though, in my 8" to really tell Neptune is a disc and not a star -- it's only 2" in diameter.

John Pierce

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2016, 07:44:15 PM »
yeah, Starry Night puts the minimum seperation at 1 arcminute, but thats at like 10:45m after its set.   I'm gonna lose it in the trees from my driveway shortly.

DDK

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2017, 02:30:41 AM »
Cool view in the 13". Took 212x for Neptune to show a disk. Went out and dragged some of the neighbor buddies over to make 'em look. They enjoyed it, but the person who got what she was looking at was my Jo. She not only knows a lot of astronomy, she has that breadth of imagination. Half an AU compared to 40 AU. It always kills me that Neptune shows a disk and bright blue color from 6 billion kilometers away.
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>

Prana

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2017, 07:50:23 AM »
I'm now looking forward to the Venus / Neptune conjunction view I a telescope, when one can imagine the orbit of Earth passing between the two.

DDK

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Re: Head's Up for New Year's Eve Mars/Neptune Conjunction
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2017, 03:08:49 PM »
Had fun last night, for a reward after doing a bunch of late afternoon weeding, pulled out the binocs to look at those planets again. There was Neptune sure enough, now up above Mars. The Moon was showing a lot of earthlight. And once again, all 4 - the Moon, Venus, Mars and Neptune were in a straight line. Good ole ecliptic, I never get over it.
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>