Visible Planets July 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Planets

For us, the visible planets have been tough to follow throughout June.  It gets dark so much later.  which on one hand is great, more park time, but definitely not great for Kam’s planet spotting, past his bedtime I’m afraid.

We’ve revamped our planet information, so it’s fresh, as we’ve had a tendency to skip over it.  We hope you find it useful.

Here are links to our other visible planet posts:
Visible Planets July 2015 – Mercury and Venus
Visible Planets

Mars

Mars
Mars

Mars has a red hue to it because iron oxides (rust) covers its surface.

Most of the time, Mars glows dimly in the night sky, except when it is directly opposite the Sun, (opposition).  Mars is in opposition every two years.

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is the second smallest in our solar system.

Mars is a terrestrial planet.  The other Terrestrial Planets are Mercury, Venus and Earth.  They consist of rocks and metals.  They are the inner planets, those closest to the Sun.

Mars has two moons called Phobos & Deimos.  Mars’s surface gravity is about a third of Earth’s.  We’d be able to bounce three times higher on Mars than on Earth!

Mars has the highest mountain in the solar system.  It’s name is Olympus Mons.  It is 21km high with a diameter of 600km.  It is a volcano and has evidence of volcanic eruptions.  By contrast, Mount Everest on Earth is 8.8km above sea level, with a diameter of 525km.

Mars – as of July 2015:

imageWe cannot see Mars in July.  In the middle of June Mars passed behind the Sun.  So, it’s hidden in the Sun’s glare as it is very close to the Sun.

We cannot see Mars in July in the UK.  Mars will be visible in August in the dawn sky.

Jupiter

Jupiter
Jupiter

Jupiter is the fifth planet away from the Sun.  It is the largest planet in the Solar System.

Jupiter’s day lasts 10 hours or how it takes to rotate on its own axis.

Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun (a Jupiter year) takes 4,333 Earth days or 12 Earth years.

Jupiter is a gas planet; it does not have a solid surface. Scientists think Jupiter has a solid core as large as Earth.  Jupiter’s atmosphere is mostly hydrogen (H2) and helium (He).
Jupiter has 50 known moons, with 17 possibles.  Galileo discovered 4 huge moons in 1610.  They’re names are Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa.

Jupiter – as of July 2015

Venus and Jupiter: Anne Burgess
Venus and Jupiter: Anne Burgess

Jupiter, moves west throughout July  and it too will be lost in the Sun’s glare by the end of July.

Jupiter and Venus are very close together at the start of July.  They have their closest conjunction until August 2016.  Jupiter sets around 12.30am.

July 18th is the last day we’ll see Jupiter before it passes behind the Sun.  It will be close to Venus and a crescent moon.

image
Venus and Jupiter, June 30th

This time we have taken a photo of Venus and Jupiter.

Jupiter is at the top, the yellowish one and Venus is the really bright one at the bottom.

We are well chuffed!

Saturn

Saturn: NASA
Saturn: NASA

Saturn is the second largest planet on the Solar System, after Jupiter.  It is a gas planet made up of mostly hydrogen and helium.

It has a lot of moons, 62 at the moment.  Its largest moon is Titan.

A day on Saturn lasts about 10 hours and a year on Saturn is 29 of our years!

Saturn – as of July 2015

Saturn and Mars
Saturn and Mars

Saturn is visible low in the South West night sky.  

You need a telescope to see Saturn’s rings.

A Note to You and Me

Last night Kam was awake late, so I thought, ok an extra 5 minutes won’t hurt.  We saw Venus and Jupiter he really enjoyed it.

These posts have been useful for us. Here are links to our visible planets posts:
Visible Planets July 2015 – Mercury and Venus
Visible Planets

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and it is useful for you.  As ever, we’d love to hear from you.  If you spot any mishaps, please let us know.

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