The red planet Mars swings to west quadrature on February 7, 2016. That agency that – if you had a bird’s-eye actualization of the solar arrangement – you’d see the sun, Earth and Mars authoritative a appropriate (90-degree) bend in space, with Earth at the acme of this angle. It agency the best time to see Mars in 2016 – in fact, the best time in about two years – is aloof ahead! Follow the links beneath to apprentice more:
Mars’ west quadrature on February 7
From Mars, Earth at greatest black elongation
2016 is a admirable year for Mars
Mercury at greatest morning addendum on February 7
Mars’ west quadrature on February 7. The diagram aloft helps to allegorize Mars at quadrature. Note that Mars is a aloft planet – a planet orbiting the sun alfresco of Earth’s orbit.
As apparent from Earth’s sky, Mars lies some 90o west of the sun at west quadrature. That agency Mars alcove its accomplished point for the day about 6 a.m. bounded time – the time on your alarm no amount area you are on the apple – which is about six hours afore the sun climbs accomplished up for the day at solar noon.
At the Earth’s equator (0o latitude), Mars rises in the east about midnight and sets in the west about noon.
It’s about a those times as apparent from all genitalia of the globe.
At west quadrature on February 7, 2016, Mars’ atrophy on the sky’s arch (analogous to breadth actuality on Earth) is about the aforementioned as the atrophy of the February 7 sun. On February 7, 2016, Mars and the sun abide added than 15o south of the angelic equator – a bump of the Earth’s aing even assimilate the angelic sphere.
In added words, Mars’ southern atrophy at present is affiliated to that of the sun during a Northern Hemisphere winter or Southern Hemisphere summer.
Therefore, arctic latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere acquisition Mars spending beneath time aloft the border than at the Earth’s equator. Arctic of the equator, Mars rises in the east anon afterwards midnight and sets in the west somewhat afore noon.
At southerly latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, in contrast, Mars spends added time aloft the border than at the Earth’s equator. South of the equator, Mars rises in the east anon afore midnight and sets in the west somewhat afterwards noon.
By midnight, we beggarly amid amid dusk and sunrise, and by noon, amid amid aurora and sunset.
Each month, the moon alcove west quadrature about the time of aftermost division moon. So there’s no abstruseness or abracadabra about this area in our sky. It’s absolutely actual ordinary.
However, clashing the moon, which is consistently 50% aflame by sunshine at quadrature, the telescope reveals that Mars at quadrature exhibits an oval-shaped arched phase. That is, it’s added than bisected afire but beneath than full.
The allotment of the Martian deejay aflame by sunshine wanes (or shrinks) to its minimum at quadrature, announcement a 90% actualization on February 7, 2016. Because of Mars’ egg-shaped (oblong) orbit, though, Mars’ actualization is NOT consistently the aforementioned at anniversary quadrature. For instance, back Mars sweeps to east quadrature on September 13, 2016, its deejay will absolutely be 85% illuminated. At that time, Mars will be appreciably afterpiece to perihelion – Mars’ aing point to the sun in its orbit.
Because Mars orbits the sun alfresco of Earth’s orbit, Mars consistently appears abounding or aing to abounding in our sky.
Mars alcove abounding actualization at affiliation (sun amid Earth and Mars) and afresh at action (Earth amid sun and Mars).
At added times, Mars displays capricious degrees of a waxing or crumbling arched phase.
After February 7, 2016, Mars will wax (grow) over the advancing months, from its basal arched 90% actualization at west quadrature to abounding actualization at action (when Mars resides 180o from the sun in Earth’s sky) on May 22, 2016.
When Mars best afresh swung abaft the sun (at conjunction) on June 14, 2015, this apple transitioned over to Earth’s morning sky. That apparent the alpha of the red planet’s abate from abounding actualization at affiliation to his basal arched actualization at west quadrature. Crumbling to a minimum of 90% abounding at west quadrature on February 7, 2016, Mars will afresh alpha to wax again. Some three and one-half months afterwards west quadrature – on May 22, 2016 – Mars’ deejay will become absolutely aflame at opposition, to angrily advertise abounding actualization all night long, from dark to sunup.
From Mars, Earth at greatest black elongation
The diagram aloft shows the close solar arrangement for February 7, 2016, highlighting Mercury at its greatest western (morning) addendum and Mars at west quadrature.
Earth is an inferior planet as apparent from Mars. So back Mars sweeps to west quadrature in our sky, Earth is about at its greatest eastern (evening) addendum in the Martian sky. That agency that – if there were earthlings on Mars now – they’d accept a acceptable actualization of Earth in the Martian black sky.
2016 is a admirable year for Mars. The Red Planet alternates years in our sky with account to its actualization from Earth. In some years – like 2016 – it comes to action in our sky as Earth passes amid Mars and the sun. Afresh it appears ablaze and admirable in our sky. In alternating years, we are far beyond the solar arrangement from Mars, and the Red Planet appears aside and camouflaged in our sky.
So 2016 is one of the acceptable years. Watch for Mars in the months ahead!
Feb 7 Mars at west quadratureApr 17 Mars starts retrogradeMay 22 Mars at action (middle of the best time of year to see Mars)May 30 Mars aing to EarthJun 30 Mars ends retrogradeAug 25 Mars-Saturn conjunctionSep 13 Mars at east quadratureOct 29 Mars at perihelion
Mercury at greatest morning addendum on February 7. By the way, inferior planets that apogee the sun central Earth’s apogee appearance the absolute ambit of phases, but never ability quadrature or get as far as 90o from the sun in Earth’s sky.
Quite by coincidence, Mercury swings to its greatest western (morning) addendum (25.5o from the sun) on February 7, 2016, the aforementioned date that Mars sweeps to west quadrature. Scroll advancement for an analogy of an inferior planet at greatest elongation, as able-bodied as a aloft planet at quadrature.
Bottom line: Enjoy the abundant morning sky appearance in aboriginal February as Mars sweeps to quadrature, Mercury swings out to greatest elongation, and the bristles naked-eye planets ablaze up the predawn/dawn sky.
See all 5 ablaze planets accompanying
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