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Wednesday, February 26, 2020


Mars and globular cluster M22 (28 Feb - 1 March, 2020)

Morning sky at 5:34 ACDST (90 minutes minutes before sunrise) facing east as seen from Adelaide on Saturday, February 29. Mars is at its closest to the globular cluster M22 at this time. The inset is the telescopic view through a 24 mm eyepiece of a 4" Newtonian. The nearby stars are labelled for orientation with the charts. Similar views will be seen elsewhere in Australia at the equivalent local time (90 minutes minutes before sunrise).Approximate binocular view of Mars and M22 (indicated by blue box) at 5:34 ACDST.

Mars is currently near the "teapot" of Sagittarius, ravelling past the lid towards the Handle. During this time it travels though some binocular rich fields, in particular being within binocular range of the bright, magnitude 5.2 Globular cluster M22 from the 26th February to 3 March.

Black and white spotters chart suitable for printing (click to embiggen and print). The whole sky chart above and the binocular chart have the reference stars labelled so you can orient yourself. 

Between 28 February  to 1 March Mars is within wide field telescopic eyepiece views of M22, and on the 29th, Mars and M22 are at their closest. The 29th is Saturday so you can go back for a sleep-in after.

This is a good opportunity for astrophotography.  The Moon is in the evening sky and Mars and M22 are high before astronomical twilight, when the sky is fully dark. However, bright Mars may wash out M22 so a bit of fine tuning mat be required, and practising shots between 28 February  to 1 March may help getting exposures right.

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