Best Time to See Mars/Saturn in 2014

02/20/2014 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Astronomy Help Articles

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Best Time To See Mars and Saturn in 2014

Mars and Saturn are well-placed for viewing in the early hours of February and March mornings. Look to the south between 4am – 5am in February and early March to see both planets at their highest. Mars appears as a bright orange-red star to the naked eye, and sits to the upper left of the blue-white star Spica in the constellation of Virgo. The Red planet is about 30 degrees above the horizon at this time, having just crossed into the SSW region of the sky. Saturn can be found as a slightly dimmer yellow coloured star-like object between 160-170 degrees South on a compass, so it is across the sky to the lower left of Mars when looking due south. You’ll find the ringed planet about 20-degrees up above the horizon.


Mars, Saturn and the Moon

Between Wednesday 19th February 2014 and  Sunday 23rd February 2014 the waning moon joins Mars and Saturn in the pre-dawn sky. The Moon is close to Mars on the 19th and 20th February. In the early hours of 21st February the Moon  sits almost midway between Mars and Saturn in the sky, while on February 22nd and 23rd the waning moon can be seen closest to Saturn making for a spectacular view.



Best time to see Mars and Saturn in 2014

Mars and Saturn are not yet at their best for 2014. Mars reaches opposition on 8th April 2014. April and May are therefore the best times to view Mars through a telescope. This is when the red planet will be at its biggest and brightest for the year, allowing you to see the north polar cap of Mars as well as dark markings on the planet’s surface in telescopes of 150mm aperture and larger.

Saturn reaches opposition on 10th May 2014. The ringed planet will be at its best in the evening sky from Mid April through to early August. So, if you don’t fancy getting up early on a February or March morning, just wait a few months and you’ll be able to see it in the evening sky after sunset.



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