Visible Planets August 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Planets

Planet spotting in July was non-existent for us.  We’ve had long evenings and planets out of view.  We did see a Blue Moon on July 30th which was pretty amazing.  We were camping in Devon and when the clouds cleared we saw the most beautiful Moon, then found out it was a Blue Moon.

Blue Moon, Devon U.K. - July 31 2015.
Blue Moon, Devon U.K. – July 31 2015.

Our visible planet notes are as much about learning a little bit about the them as watching out for them.  We hope you find them useful.

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

Or our planet poems:
Planet Venus or Planet Mercury

Mars

Mars: NASA
Mars:NASA

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 hen 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 August 2015:

Mars rises in the morning in the Cancer Constellation.  It will be in the UK  pre dawn sky during August.  It will be very difficult to see as it is in the glare of the Sun.  As soon as the Sun rises it will be too dangerous to look for Mars because it is so close to the Sun.

Jupiter

Jupiter: NASA
Jupiter: NASA

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 August 2015

image
Venus and Jupiter, June 30th: Kam and Mum

Jupiter, we’ve been watching for months now.  But, now in solar conjunction and lost in the glare of the Sun for us.  We’ve enjoyed you and see you again soon. x

Our photo – 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 is visible, but it is low in the sky.  We would need a telescope, but it is visible.  You need a telescope to see Saturn’s rings.

A Note to You and Me

Overall, August is a month without visible planets for us!  Look forward to seeing them again soon. X

These posts have been useful for us. Here are links to other visible planet posts:
Visible Planets September 2015 – Mercury and Venus
Visible Planets August 2015 – Mercury and Venus
Visible Planets

Or our planet poems:
Planet Venus or Planet Mercury

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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