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Saturday, September 24, 2016


Mars Meets the Lagoon Nebula (24-30 September, 2016)

Evening sky on Wednesday September 28 looking west as seen from Adelaide at 22:00 ACST. Mars, Saturn, Antares form a long triangle. The fuzzy patch near Mars is the Lagoon NebulaSimilar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time. (click to embiggen).This simulation shows the approximate binocular view of Mars and the Lagoon Nebula in 10x50 binoculars under dark skies. The Lagoon Nebula is the vertical parch of stars and gas in the middle of the image. The Triffid Nebula is the second patch of stars and gas to the right hand side. Click to embiggen.

For the next few days Mars will be within a binocular field of the iconic Lagoon and Triffid nebulas. This will look rather nice, even under suburban skies they clearly visible as a fuzzy patchs to the uniaded eye and are very nice in binoculars. They will not be as spectacular as in professional astrophotographs of course, but they will look very nice in your backyards indeed. Over the next few days the absence of the Moon will give us reasonably dark skies, weather permitting.

Black and white printable chart suitable for use with binoculars or telescopes. The large circle is the field of view of 10x50 binoculars, the small circle the FOV of a 30 mm eyepiece with a 114mm reflector. Click to embiggen and print (use with redlight torches so as to not destroy your night vision).

If you head out aroud 10 pm local time and loo west, the constellation of Scorpio is obvious as a backto front question mark above the western horizon. Mars is the obvious bright red object off to the right of the curl of the question mark. You shoudl be able to see the Lagoon and Triffid Nebula e as brightish fuzzy patches to the right of Mars again. 

By the 28th (and the 29th) Mars will be (just) within the field of view of wide field telescope eye pieces. This should look very good. You may find my guides to using point and shoot cameras to capture images of Mars and clusters in telescopes and just on tripods helpful (see here and here)

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