Small BRAS web logoGREAT MARTIAN APPARITION OF 2018-2019
[13 April 2018 to 5 December 2018]

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No other currently-known celestial event of calendar year 2018 will hold more opportunity to bring amateur skygazing into the lives of you and your friends and family than the apparition of Mars♂. An apparition is simply a time span during which an object is available for view in the sky. Every twenty-six months Earth♁ swings by and passes the Red Planet, giving anyone interested a chance to see it as close up as possible.

However, the orbits of Earth♁ and Mars♂ are not perfect circles. Therefore some close passes are closer than others, some farther away. This will be the closest pass to Mars♂ in fifteen years. The apparent size of the planet in our sky will exceed one percent the size of the Full Moon!

There is every real possibility of glimpsing a polar cap of Mars♂ as well as the large dark area Syrtis Major. Although the 2018-2019 apparition has been in progress for some time and will continue through February, leisure viewing by beginning skygazers should take place between 13 April and 5 December when the magnitude (brightness) of Mars♂ rivals—and ultimately exceeds—that of the brightest stars.

In order to take full advantage of this opportunity (which will not return for another seventeen years) one should perform several important tasks…

  • Secure a good binocular from a reputable local store.
  • Attend at least one BRAS Public Meeting (the next ones are 14 May and 11 June) and at least one Plus Night (or preempting special event) at the Highland Road Park Observatory—preferably 5 May, 23 June or 7 July. This will allow congregating with other local amateurs to compare notes, suggest photography possibilities and the best filters.
  • Utilize this timeline.

Key Magnitude and Apparent Size Dates

  • ˜Fri 13 Apr = magnitude reaches 0.0
  • ˜Sat 5 May = magnitude reaches -0.5
  • ˜Wed 9 May = apparent size exceeds 12" [!]
  • ˜Wed 23 May = magnitude reaches -1.0
  • ˜Wed 30 May = apparent size exceeds 15"
  • ˜Sat 9 Jun = magnitude reaches -1.5 [!]
  • ˜Sat 16 Jun = apparent size exceeds 18" [!!]
  • ˜Mon 25 Jun = magnitude reaches -2.0 [!!]
  • ˜Mon 2 Jul = apparent size exceeds 21"
  • ˜Wed 11 Jul = magnitude reaches -2.5 [!!!]
  • ˜23 July to 9 August = apparent size exceeds 24" [!!!]
  • Thu 26 Jul, 6:30 pm to 12:30 am = Great Martian Opposition {mag -2.79}
    This is the night HRPO will be open to the public.
  • Tue 31 Jul, 2:51 am = Mars♂’ Closest Approach (24.31")
  • ˜Thu 9 Aug = last nighttime period for 24"
  • ˜Sat 18 Aug = last nighttime period for -2.5
  • ˜Fri 31 Aug = last nighttime period for 21"
  • ˜Thu 6 Sep = last nighttime period for -2.0
  • ˜Mon 17 Sep = last nighttime period for 18"
  • ˜Tue 25 Sep = last nighttime period for -1.5
  • ˜Sat 6 Oct = last nighttime period for 15"
  • ˜Tue 16 Oct = last nighttime period for -1.0
  • ˜Wed 31 Oct = last nighttime period for 12"
  • ˜Thu 8 Nov = last nighttime period for -0.5
  • ˜Wed 5 Dec = last nighttime period for 9"
  • ˜Wed 5 Dec = last nighttime period for 0.0

For additional information such as Mars♂’ motions through the sky, conjunctions with the Moon and other bodies, Baton Rouge rise times, constellation locations, Martian seasons and the latest Martian photography from this incredible apparition, please go to…

http://www.brastro.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=2713

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Page created on Friday, April 13, 2018, 11:41 AM.