This month presents a host of exciting objects and events for us observers, ranging from Mars, Lunar Eclipses and the return of the ringed planet! As in my previous Astronomical Events posts, I am highlighting what’s to come throughout the month. Let’s get right into it!
For starters, we have the opposition of Mars coming up on April 8th, and should provide a spectacular show. A few nights ago I was out with the 12.5″ Newtonian observing Mars. The best view was with a 7mm Galoc Ortho at 272x, showing off the Polar Ice Caps, intricate light and dark areas, and Orographic Clouds. These are of particular interest. Ever noticed that even on clear days from the city, you notice those clouds always surrounding mountains? The high altitude of the mountains creates what is called micro-climates, and the same effect can be seen on Mars, but on a much bigger scale. Mars is home to the largest volcano in the Solar System, Olympus Mons. Because it’s so large, it creates a micro-climate so large, the cloud systems produced can be seen even from Earth.
Image Credit: Anthony Wesley
The image Mr. Wesley has made here is very similar to what ...