It is no surprise that we can observe several planets with just the naked eye.
Mars, for one, is one of the brightest planets in the night sky. No wonder why its radiance captivates a lot of sky gazers.
But can you see Mars with a telescope? Read on as we share with you how you can best enjoy gazing at the Red Planet.
Can You See Mars Through A Telescope?
Yes, you can see Mars through a telescope, most prominently when it is closest to Earth.
The distance between Earth and Mars may range from approximately 60 million kilometers to 400 million kilometers – that is when it is the farthest from our home planet .
You would love the sight of the second smallest planet in the solar system when it is closer than when it is far away – that’s when its surface detail is even more precise and clear.
When Is It Visible?
It is rare to spot Mars in our daytime sky with the naked eye. However, it is possible to locate the red planet using a telescope .
It is one of the visible planets in daytime or even under city lights, along with Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn.
If you decide to go stargazing during the daytime, remember not to point your telescope toward the sun.
If there is one thing you must remember, that is a few hours after the sun sets, the planet Mars rises in the east.
It is usually visible to the naked eye because it is one of the brightest planets in the night sky.
You can usually catch Mars from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. However, the accuracy and clarity of your view may depend on the lighting and atmospheric conditions in your place.
Telescope Magnification You’ll Need To See It
If you just want an average to a good view of Mars, a 30x to 50x aperture is effective enough when watching at nighttime.
You may try to experiment as magnification may differ, and it is unique to the aperture of each telescope. In general, 200x to 300x magnification would yield the best view of the red planet.
What Does Mars Look Like In A Telescope?
The most common image we paint of Mars is that region covered with rusty dust. These were named after land masses, while the darker regions had names derived from bodies of water.
Once you point the telescope toward Mars, you will notice that its surface features are quite small.
You will probably see any of the three regions of the red planet: polar caps, light regions, and dark regions.
You would be surprised by the variety of views you can get off Mars. The two most common reasons behind the planet’s ever-changing nature are its rotation and unpredictable dust storms.
Which Telescope Is Best For Viewing Mars?
Choose a telescope with a larger aperture for a more detailed view and higher resolution. The aperture of a telescope pertains to the diameter of the mirror or lens.
A telescope like this can collect more light, enabling you to view a clearer picture of the planet. We recommend is a 6-inch refractor at the minimum, but a 4-inch refractor is already functional.
When Is The Best Time To See It?
The best time to see Mars is when it is so close to Earth.
When it happens, Mars glistens so brightly in the night sky that you can enjoy watching it through a telescope or even just through your naked eye.
You are in for some luck this year because the next Mars Close Approach is approaching on December 8. 38.6 million miles or 62.07 million kilometers away.
How To Find Mars Using A Telescope
To find Mars using a telescope, look out for these key features:
- The dark region of Syrtis Major in the shape of an arrow
- The southern dark features, Mare Tyrrhenum (at 225º), Mare Erythraeum (at 45º), and Mare Sirenum; also look for the circular reddish-orange feature Hellas
- The broad ochre regions of rusty sand marked by Arabia and Eden Terra, Tharsis and Arcadia, Amazonis, and Elysium at equatorial and temperate latitudes
- The dark areas of Utopia Planitia (at 270º) and Mare Acidalium (at 45º) are located northern part of Mars
- The polar caps (which are the easiest to locate)
Can You See It Any Time Of The Day?
You can see Mars in the sky at certain times of the day or night. However, it is not always above the horizon, so there will be days when Mars is hard to locate even when using a telescope.
It is most visible when it is closest to Earth, approximately 60 million kilometers away. Set up your gears a few hours before the sun sets to catch the rising of the red planet in the east.
When up close, it is usually bright red.
Can you see Mars without a telescope?
Yes, there are certain times when you can see Mars without a telescope or just through the naked eye. It is all about timing.
The primary factor determining the red planet’s visibility is its proximity to Earth.
Can you see Mars with a home telescope?
Yes, you can use a home telescope to see Mars. The kind of telescope does not matter, but the aperture or diameter of the lens.
Choose a 4-inch refractor or 6-inch reflector at the least. The atmospheric condition also plays a role in a memorable stargazing experience.
What other planets can you see with a telescope besides Mars?
Besides Mars, you can also see the planets Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, and Saturn through a telescope.
With just a small or medium-sized telescope, you can observe these planets even under the city lights.
When sky gazing, choose a telescope with a larger aperture for a more detailed view of any object in the sky, especially Mars.
It is usually visible in the east, following the sunset. Your location also matters.
For best viewing, note the key features of Mars – its 3 regions and captivating surface details. Its next close approach is on December 8, so take your telescopes out and get ready to be in awe.
Besides Mars, you can also observe Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn. For sky gazers, nothing is more fascinating than a clear view of your planet of interest in the night sky.
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