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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Kam’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.
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.
In 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!
In 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!
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 →
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 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.) Continue reading →
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.
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? Continue reading →