Visible Planets September 2015 – Mercury and Venus

Planets

We’re still here, asking about the visible planets and which ones we might see.  Kam just loves the planets and is desperate for a telescope! We’re saving and have been for a while as I’d like to get a reasonable one.

Mercury

Mercury: NASA
Mercury: NASA

Mercury, closest planet to the Sun,  it orbits the Sun in 88 days.  So, a Mercury year is 88 Earth days long.

Now, a Mercury day is 176 Earth days long! It spins or rotates very slowly on its own axis.

NASA have had two ventures to explore Mercury.

One was in 1973/5, a NASA probe Mariner 10 gathered information about Venus and then Mercury.  Mariner 10 sent back images of Mercury’s surface and other scientific information.  It’s transmitter  was turned off on March 24 1975.  Scientists believe it still orbits the Sun.

Mercury
Mercury’s final image transmitted to Earth: NASA

Between 2004 and 2015, another NASA probe Messenger sent information about Venus and Mercury. It studied Mercury from 2011, sending 250,000 images and vast amounts of data. It orbited Mercury and verified Scientists beliefs that Mercury’s Polar regions contained ice deposits of water.
Messenger crashed on April 30 2015 at 1926 GMT.  Finally Mercury’s gravity brought it down to rest.

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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.

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Visible Planets August 2015 – Mercury and Venus

Planets

Here is our post about the visible planets: Visible Planets.

Here is our post for the other visible planets: Visible Planets August 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Mercury

Mercury: NASA
Mercury: NASA

Mercury has the honour of being the closest planet to the Sun.  It’s round the Sun takes 88 days.  So, a Mercury year is 88 Earth days long.

Now, a Mercury day is 176 Earth days long! It spins or rotates very slowly on its own axis.

Mercury passes over the Sun every 7 years.  This next happens on May 16th 2016.  I’ll order some of the special glasses early.  We never look at the Sun, Brian Cox says not to!

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Visible Planets July 2015 – Mercury and Venus

PlanetsKam’s loving these posts about the planets.  We’re here again in July eager to find out which planets we can see.

Yesterday evening as a total bonus we saw Venus and Jupiter close together.  It’s been hard to spot the planets as it gets dark so much later.  But, Kam had a late night last night and I thought go for it, let’s see Venus and Jupiter.  He was over the moon, really  pleased and happily went to sleep afterwards!  We took a photo so overall we’re pleased.

Here is our post about the visible planets: Visible Planets.
Here is our post for the other visible planets: Visible Planets July 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Mercury

Mercury: NASA
Mercury: NASA

Mercury has the honour of being the closest planet to the Sun.  It’s round the Sun takes 88 days.  So, a Mercury year is 88 Earth days long.

Now, a Mercury day is 176 Earth days long! It spins or rotates very slowly on its own axis.

Mercury passes over the Sun every 7 years.  This next happens on May 16th 2016.  I’ll order some of the special glasses early.  We never look at the Sun, Brian Cox says not to!

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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.

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Visible Planets June 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Planets

For us, this is a useful post.  We wrote about the visible planets in April and May.  It gives us the basics in one place, which kind of helps!  We’ve got our own Jupiter photo below. x

The post tells us something about Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – simply a recap. It reminds us where the planets are in the sky, theoretically!

Here are the links for July: Visible Planets July 2015 – Mercury and Venus and Visible Planets July 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

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).

When Mars is in opposition, usually every 2 years, it’s at its largest and brightest.

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Visible Planets June 2015 – Mercury and Venus

PlanetsIn April and May, we wrote about which planets we would be able to see in the sky.  This is June’s post and I hope we get to use it.  It has been a useful post and we even took our own Jupiter photo in May!

Here is our post about the visible planets: Visible Planets.

Here are the links for July: Visible Planets July 2015 – Mercury and Venus and Visible Planets July 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Mercury

Mercury
Mercury

Mercury’s colour is yellowish, orange or pinkish.  Its hue comes from the sunrise or sunset sky colours.  It is a pinpoint of light, almost star like.

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Visible Planets May 2015 – Mercury and Venus

PlanetsIn April, we wrote about which planets we would be able to see in the sky.  This is May’s post and I hope we get to use it.  It has been a useful post and we even took our own Jupiter photo. (It is in the link given below, but is not a NASA masterpiece!

These are the links for those posts:

Visible Planets and Visible Planets May 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Here are the links for July: Visible Planets July 2015 – Mercury and Venus and Visible Planets July 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Mercury

Mercury
Mercury

Mercury’s colour is yellowish, orange or pinkish.  Its hue comes from the sunrise or sunset sky colours.  It is a pinpoint of light, almost star like.

Continue reading

Visible Planets May 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

For us, this is a useful post.  We wrote about the visible planets in April, here is the May version.  It gives us the basics in one place, which kind of helps!

We’ve got our own Jupiter photo below. x The post tells us something about Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – simply a recap. It reminds us where the planets are in the sky, theoretically!

Here are the links for July:

Visible Planets July 2015 – Mercury and Venus and 
Visible Planets July 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

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). When Mars is in opposition, usually every 2 years, it’s at its largest and brightest. Continue reading

Visible Planets April 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

Planets

This is the link for newer posts: 

Visible Planets May 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn
Visible Planets June 2015 – Mars, Jupiter and Saturn

I have decided to repost these posts as Kam has asked where and why planets move across the sky and sometimes disappear.

Following on from our other visible planets posts we need to find out where we can see Mars, Jupiter and Saturn in the sky.

Mars

Mars
Mars

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

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

When Mars is in opposition, usually every 2 years, it’s at its largest and brightest.

Generally though, Mars is not as bright as Venus but it’s luminosity is largest as its orbit get closer to Earth. (Its elliptical orbit means that it can vary from 50 to 400 million km from Earth.)
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Visible Planets

One evening  a few weeks ago – more than a few now, Kam pointed to the sky.  I didn’t know what we were looking at.  Look to the left of the moon mum, there’s a planet.

Oh ok, how do you know that?  Mum, because it’s big, it’s bright, it’s not so sparkly, like you and grandad tell me. Oh, ok.

So, being the expert, I look on the iPad.  Sure enough I scan the area, and oh my, it’s a planet.  It’s Jupiter.  Oh golly gosh.

Visible Planets

Jupiter and Earth's Moon
Jupiter and Earth’s  moon:NASA

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are the brightest planets in the sky.

We can see them with our eyes, indeed they are known as the Naked Eye Planets.  Of course, you must know where and what to look for – pretty amazing we think.
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Visible Planets April 2015 – Mercury and Venus

Planets

I have decided to re-post this article about the visible planets from April 2015.  Kam and I like to look at the planets.  He has asked me how the planets have moved across the sky, so I thought if we keep these older posts.  I just hope that our other space and science posts don’t get lost in the similar articles section; of which I have no control over! Let’s see.

I hope these posts are useful for people, although essentially they are here to help Kam and his mum planet watch.

This is the link for the updated post:  Visible Planets May 2015 – Mercury and Venus and the latest post is for June: Visible Planets June 2015 – Mercury and Venus.

We’ve learnt a little about the visible planets from Earth;  those which we can see using our eyes.  This is the link for that post: Visible Planets.

Of course, as expected we’re not finished, I think we are just starting!

Anticipation, Kam’s next question: Ok, where do we look for the naked eye planets, – naked giggle, no clothes, that’s funny isn’t it, eyes don’t wear clothes – so where do we look for them?
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