Home > Ephemeris Program, Planets > 04/27/2016 – Ephemeris – Mars is closing in on its rival, but backs off for now

04/27/2016 – Ephemeris – Mars is closing in on its rival, but backs off for now

April 27, 2016

Ephemeris for Wednesday, April 27th.  The Sun rises at 6:38.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 5 minutes, setting at 8:43.   The Moon, 2 days before last quarter, will rise at 1:36 tomorrow morning.

Let’s see what the bright naked eye planets are up to.  Mercury is in the west-northwest, very low to the horizon, setting at 10:12 p.m.  Mercury is really fading now.  Jupiter is in the southeast in the early evening, and will pass due south at 10:17 p.m., and will set at 4:51 a.m.  It’s below the stars of Leo this year.  Binoculars can make out some of Jupiter’s moons, but a telescope is required to see all four bright moons and Jupiter’s cloud features.  Mars will rise at 11:11 p.m. in the east-southeast.  It’s now almost bu not quite directly north of its look-a-like star Antares, whose name means Rival of Mars.  Saturn will rise at 11:40 p.m. in the east-southeast.  It’s just left of Mars.  Its rings are a telescopic treat.  Venus is invisibly close to the Sun now.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

 

Jupiter and the spring stars

Jupiter and the spring stars animation. Set for 10 p.m. April 27, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Jupiter and its moons

Jupiter and its moons as they might be seen in a telescope at 10 p.m., April 27, 2016. Jupiter’s apparent diameter is 41.2″ According to the Project Pluto web site the Great Red spot will cross Jupiter’s central meridian at 9:16 p.m., a half hour after sunset. If so, the position of the spot in this chart is incorrect. Created with Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Mars, Saturn and the Moon

Mars, Saturn and the Moon at 5:30 a.m. April 28, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

Mars as seen in a powerful telescope

Mars as it might be seen in a large telescope with high power at 5:30 a.m., April 28 2016. Mars apparent diameter is 15.7″. The central meridian will be 169.90 degrees. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Saturn and its moons

Saturn and its moons at 5:30 a.m., April 28, 2016. The apparent diameter of the planet will be 18.1″. The rings span 42.1″, a bit larger than the apparent diameter of Jupiter. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

The Moon as it might appear in binoculars

The Moon as it might appear in binoculars at 5:30 a.m. on April 28, 2016. Created using Stellarium.

 

The retrograde tracks of Mars and Saturn

The retrograde tracks of Mars and Saturn as we pass both planets this year. The tracks start on February 14, 2016 and run to September 13, 2016 plotted at 4 day intervals and labeled every 20 days. I noticed when producing the Mars, Saturn & Moon plot above that Mars was not due north of Antares on the 27th. Mars actually became stationary and started it’s retrograde loop a few days ago before it got that far. However when Mars doubles back, it will have a much closer pass of Antares on August 27th. Saturn’s plots are so close together that they appear as a fat line. Created using Cartes du Ciel (Sky Charts).

Retrograde motion of the planets are caused when the Earth is either passing a superior planet (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc.), or when being passed by an inferior planet (Venus and Mercury).  It was a big problem with the old Earth center solar system, before Copernicus and Kepler.

Sunset to sunrise on a single night

Planets at sunrise and sunset of a single night starting with sunset on the right on April 27, 2016. The night ends on the left with sunrise on April 28. If you are using Firefox right-click on the image and select View Image to enlarge the image. That goes for all the large images.

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