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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Garner

A Telescope View of Mars: My Latest Stargazing Watch

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

One of the most breathtaking experiences I've ever had was stargazing on a clear night. To witness the beauty and magnificence of our universe, from billions of kilometers in space to the stars twinkling above us, is truly something incredible! When I heard about my opportunity to view Mars through a telescope at a local observatory, I couldn't believe my luck. Seeing this otherworldly planet up close and personal was an experience that will stay with me forever – the colors radiating like sparks on its surface were mesmerizing. Here is my humble guide to observing Mars via telescope, hope you will enjoy this unique insight into our fascinating solar system!



Abnormality Creature found on Mars Victoria Crater


When Is The Best Time To See Mars?

During its opposition! That's when the red planet is closest to Earth in its orbit. For stargazers, that means Mars will be bright in the night sky. Here's what you need to know to spot Mars this opposition season.


What Is Opposition?

Opposition occurs when Mars and the sun line up on opposite sides of Earth. This configuration happens about every 26 months. During opposition, Mars is closest to Earth and brightest in our night sky.


When Is The Opposition?

The next opposition of Mars will happen on October 13, 2020. However, Mars will be visible for several months before and after that date. It will reach peak brightness on October 29, 2020.


Is Mars Visible With a Telescope?

With the unaided eye, Mars is just a bright star. It is only when viewed through a telescope that the planet reveals its true nature. The Martian surface is marked with impact craters, volcanoes, and canyons. So my best advice to you, is to use a telescope if you want the full experience, and let me tell you - it is an amazing one!


How to See Mars With My Telescope?

Viewing other planets in our solar system with a telescope can be an incredibly rewarding experience—one that allows us to explore worlds beyond our own from the comfort of our own homes!


How to Use Your Telescope To See Mars

When attempting to view Mars through your telescope, the most important factors are timing and positioning. You should wait until late at night when the sky is dark and clear. Then you’ll want to position your telescope so that it faces eastward towards Mars. If you are having trouble finding the planet, try using a star chart or astronomy app on your smartphone. Once you have located Mars in the sky, adjust your telescope until it is pointed directly at it.


Adjusting The Settings On Your Telescope

Once your telescope is properly aimed toward Mars, you will need to adjust its settings so that you can get a clear image of the Red Planet. You should first adjust the focus knob, which will sharpen the image in your eyepiece. Next, make sure that your telescope is set at the right magnification power for viewing distant objects like planets; any magnification greater than 120x will be too powerful for viewing planets like Mars. After making these adjustments, take a look through your eyepiece—you should now be able to see an inch or two across a disc of red light!


Enjoying All That Mars Has To Offer

When looking through your telescope at Mars, keep an eye out for features like its polar ice caps or large volcanoes like Olympus Mons (which stands twice as tall as Mount Everest!). While we may not be able to journey there yet ourselves, viewing this distant planet with a telescope brings us one step closer! Be sure to enjoy every moment of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.


How Much Magnification is Needed to See Mars?

It's a question that stargazers have been asking for centuries: how much magnification is needed to see Mars? The answer, of course, depends on a number of factors, including the position of Mars in its orbit, the size and design of your telescope, and the amount of light pollution in your area.


Let's take a closer look at each of these factors to get a better understanding of how they affect your ability to see Mars through a telescope.


The Position of Mars in Its Orbit

One of the biggest factors affecting how much magnification is needed to see Mars is the position of Mars in its orbit. When Mars is closer to Earth, it is much easier to see with the naked eye. In fact, you may not even need a telescope!

However, when Mars is further away from Earth, you will need a telescope with more magnification power to see it. This is because the distance between Earth and Mars has a direct impact on how big or small Mars appears in our sky.


The Size and Design of Your Telescope

Another important factor to consider is the size and design of your telescope. A larger telescope will obviously be able to gather more light than a smaller one, which means that you'll be able to see fainter objects with a larger telescope.

In addition, the type of telescope you have makes a difference. Reflector telescopes are typically better for viewing planets like Mars because they have mirrors that gather more light than refractor telescopes.


The Amount of Light Pollution in Your Area

Finally, the amount of light pollution in your area can impact how much magnification is needed to see Mars. Light pollution refers to any artificial light that interferes with our ability to see the night sky. This can be anything from streetlights to porch lights to headlights.


If you live in an area with a lot of light pollution, you may need a higher-powered telescope to see Mars because all that artificial light will make it harder to see faint objects like planets. However, if you live in an area with very little light pollution, you may be able to get by with a lower-powered telescope.


In conclusion

There are many factors that affect how much magnification is needed to see Mars. These include the position of Mars in its orbit, the size and design of your telescope, and the amount of light pollution in your area. Keep these factors in mind when trying to findMars through your telescope!


What is the Best App for Stargazing

There are a lot of stargazing apps out there. But which one is the best? I tested few of them over the years, and here is my rank:


#1. Star Walk 2 (free/$2.99)

Star Walk 2 is a popular stargazing app with over 10 million downloads. It has a simple interface that makes it easy to find and identify stars and constellations. It also has a night mode for viewing stars in low light conditions. The free version of the app contains ads and only shows the most basic information about stars and constellations. The paid version ($2.99) removes ads and provides more detailed information about stars and their positions in the sky.


#2. Sky Guide (free/$1.99)

Sky Guide is another popular stargazing app with over 5 million downloads. It has a beautiful interface that uses augmented reality to show you where stars and constellations are in relation to your current location. It also has a Timelapse feature that lets you see how the night sky changes over time. The free version of the app contains ads and only shows the most basic information about stars and constellations. The paid version ($1,99) removes ads and provides more detailed information about stars, including their distances from Earth and their absolute magnitude (brightness).


#3. Night Sky (free/$0.99)

Night Sky is a less popular stargazing app with only 1 million downloads. It has a minimalist interface that makes it quick and easy to find stars and constellations. It also has an AR mode for viewing stars in augmented reality. The free version of the app contains ads and only shows the most basic information about stars and constellations. The paid version ($0,99) removes ads and provides more detailed information about stars, including their distances from Earth, their absolute magnitude, and their spectral type (color).


In My Opinion:

So, which is the best stargazing app? That depends on what you're looking for. If you want an app with a beautiful interface, then Sky Guide is the best choice. If you want an app with detailed star information, then Night Sky is the best choice. And if you want an app that's quick and easy to use, then Star Walk 2 is the best choice. Whichever app you choose, you're sure to enjoy exploring the night sky!


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