JUST FOR YOU, BUGGIEBOO !
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I dedicate this early post on Mars to my friend Sharon, with the impossible screen name of Buggieboo1, because I feel like it, and I like her.
MARS has decided to enjoin the Hallowe'en spirit by dressing in his bright pumpkin-colored garb at the end of the month. But first:
All through this month, Mars is making fast recovery from the summer dust storms which gave him a bright, hazy atmosphere. Facing an east, notheast direction, you can watch him rise earlier and higher each night, each week, in those latitudes (ENE) and by the 30th you'll see him clearly by 9:30 p.m. EDST. Sharon, just hop up between commercials and have a look! :-) :-))
Our "warring' planet has long left Taurus and entered Gemini near its feet at Castor, the "superior" twin. He intends to visit some impressive starry friends, the magnitude 4th star 1 Geminorum, then moving south makes a sly glance at a large star cluster called M35 (Messier) where he will spend alot of quality time. By month's end he will slow his direct (eastward) motion relative to the stars.
How bright will Mars appear? This guy will outshine every winter star except the giant dog-star Sirius. How large will he appear? Expanding from 10" to 12" to an unbelieveable 16" width! big enough to clearly make out surface features with any modest telescope, even binocs on a night of good atmospheric stability. Mars is very high in the south just before the start of morning twilight. Later in the month, this is the best time to look.
Basically Sharon, Mars in lower Gemini will rise around 10 P.M. EDST shining very high toward the south at dawn. You may also detect Beteleguese off to its right as they rise together. By early dawn, Beteleguese will be directly below Mars.
It's early in the month and the real happenings are all at the end of the month, especially the previously described triangulation of two planets, a star, and the moon in the middle! But here it is, the pumpkin-colored Mars of October. Bytheby, NASA's hardy rover Opportunity continues to explore the topography of the planet, gathering priceless information. Great, huh!
(All this and I can't even get my fonts to behave. What a world ....)
Basics courtesy Sky & Tel, R&L, Graphon, Skywatcher, star charts , S&T's Sean Walker, Dr. Peter Knaff,