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Redscouse

I think I just saw my first planet..

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Posted (edited)

Evening all :hello: 

So tonight I came home from work and had a look around the weather sites to see if tonight was any good. (It isn't apparently.)
Anyway, fast forward to about 19:15 and I popped outside to take a look at the sky when something just above the horizon facing west immediately caught my attention. I saw a bright star, a really bright star and thought to myself that's odd. (see, I notice these things now.) After taking a look through my bins, I came inside and fired up Stellarium to see what it could be. You can only imagine how excited I was when Mercury came up on my screen! 
I quickly grabbed my 70mm scope and went back outside to have another look at it, hopefully better. Alas, it was not to be. After only a few seconds it disappeared behind a cloud and stayed hidden there until I gave up and came back inside. Unfortunately there was no time for a mount or photos. I had to use the fence to rest my optics on whilst trying to keep steady which was fun!

Anyway, that was that, short and sweet. Forgive me if you're reading and thinking why are you telling us this. My enthusiasm and excitement were a bit overwhelming - My first planet! :) 

Now, here's where you guys and gals join in and say yep, that was Mercury... Either that or shatter a poor guys happiness! :) 

Capture.PNG.3a03bf12e46ac99925d13c80acc7ff85.PNG

Edited by Redscouse
typo
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Nah, that was probably just a plane.....

..... 

Only joking, yep, sounds like it was Mercury, I caught it myself the night before in between the clouds and just above a roof. It looked a little orange to me, what did you think?

If you can try a bit early, around 6pm then you should get Venus as well, below it. Venus is even brighter, and white.

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Posted (edited)

Yes, the bright star was most likely Venus, and the other one Mercury yes. I managed to see both last Thursday in both my binoculars, and my small Celestron 102 mm Mak. View from tonight below at 7:15pm. Sadly wall to wall rain here today, so no sign of any sky whatsoever alas! 

7E786710-35CA-4850-85BF-91812E6567B9.thumb.jpeg.498168c1a19d51a5b372f54062d86df1.jpeg

Edited by Knighty2112
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2 minutes ago, Stu said:

Nah, that was probably just a plane.....

That was my first thought, either that or a helicopter as it didn't appear to be moving. :icon_biggrin:
As for the colour, yes, it definitely had a tinge of orange to it, I think that's what caught my attention in the first place.

Thanks for the confirmation guys, I'm even happier now!! :icon_biggrin:
I'll be ready for it over the next few days and if it's visible again I hope to grab a photograph of it.

Pete.

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Posted (edited)

Stars twinkle and planets generally just glow:thumbright:.

Edited by Bruce Leeroy

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18 minutes ago, Bruce Leeroy said:

planets generally just glow:thumbright:.

I think it's fair to say, even to my inexperienced eye, this was definitely glowing. :icon_biggrin: 
With the naked eye there was no other stars visible around it. It just stood there, loud and proud!

It's a bit mad when you think about it. I mean, it just looked like a bright dot in the sky. It was actually another world!
Mind boggling! 

 

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2 minutes ago, Redscouse said:

I think it's fair to say, even to my inexperienced eye, this was definitely glowing. :icon_biggrin: 
With the naked eye there was no other stars visible around it. It just stood there, loud and proud!

It's a bit mad when you think about it. I mean, it just looked like a bright dot in the sky. It was actually another world!
Mind boggling! 

 

Cool innit? :) 

Just wait until you see Jupiter through a scope. Detail on the surface, and four moons orbiting around it. Amazing!

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Congratulations! Jupiter and Saturn will blow you away - and there's a certain Red Planet that's due for a great show this summer!

Cheers!

Reggie

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Well done for your first planet. I still haven't seen Mercury yet, so you're one up on me. 😒😉

It only gets better & better. Also, never apologize for having such enthusiasm. It's nice to read such posts.

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Congrats on seeing your first planet, saw Venus the other day which was also my first planet :hello2: like you had to double check to make sure I wasn’t seeing things!

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1 hour ago, Redscouse said:

@Knighty2112 Do you mind me asking what app that is you use?

Skysafari Pro version 6. You can still get versions 5 and 4 though still I believe for iOS and Android. I use it on both my iPad Pro and iPhone 7+. Pricey if you go for the Pro version, but it does come up on offer at half price just about every two or three months for a while, so if ou can wait out a little bit you can save a little money if you do buy it. :) 

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Thanks all for your kind words of encouragement. I've never bothered looking for planets because I was under the impression we couldn't see them for a few years so finding out I can has pleasantly surprised me. :thumbsup:

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25 minutes ago, Redscouse said:

Thanks all for your kind words of encouragement. I've never bothered looking for planets because I was under the impression we couldn't see them for a few years so finding out I can has pleasantly surprised me. :thumbsup:

Good stuff! Get an early start in the morning at the moment and you will catch another three, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars!

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20 minutes ago, Redscouse said:

Thanks all for your kind words of encouragement. I've never bothered looking for planets because I was under the impression we couldn't see them for a few years so finding out I can has pleasantly surprised me. :thumbsup:

That’s mainly referring to the 5 superior planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune) which will be lower down as seen from the northern hemisphere over the next few years. Doesn’t mean we won’t see them, just they will be lower down in the atmosphere and making them harder to see well. Venus and Mercury can still be seen relatively easily when in positions for either evening or morning views of these planets as per normal really. BTW: the two inner planets are called inferior planets, because they lie inside the orbit of the earth, whereas the others lie outside the earths orbit, hence the term superior planets. :) 

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

Good stuff! Get an early start in the morning at the moment and you will catch another three, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars!

And it is very much worth getting up for. They may be low and small but they’re still majestic!

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7 hours ago, Knighty2112 said:

BTW: the two inner planets are called inferior planets, because they lie inside the orbit of the earth, whereas the others lie outside the earths orbit, hence the term superior planets. :)

Yep, and as a result, Venus shows  lovely phases as it approaches the sun. It gets bigger and brighter, but through a scope it becomes a lovely crescent. Mercury does too but it's nearer the sun and harder to spot.

IMG_9535.PNG

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Great (if unusual) start. You are now ideally placed to make 'first' observations of all the planets in the order they appear in the solar system. I cannot think that there are many who have done that. 

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Well I'm home early. Just about to grab the scope and head outside. Fingers crossed Mercury and Venus will make an appearance shortly. 

7 hours ago, Demonperformer said:

Great (if unusual) start. You are now ideally placed to make 'first' observations of all the planets in the order they appear in the solar system. I cannot think that there are many who have done that. 

Wow, that's pretty unique if I can see them in that order. I'm going to make it my mission to actually do so. Hopefully Venus tonight then I'll consult Stellarium and plan an early morning to see if I can catch Mars and so on. 

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In fairness, you will probably "spot" Jupiter before Mars (because it is so bright), but you could always go for them in order through your scope. Currently, Mercury & Venus in the evening + Mars, Jupiter & Saturn in the morning. Then hunt down Uranus in the evening. Neptune is a bit close to the sun at the moment, but will be available later in the year. Job done.

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Would I be able to see Uranus through my scopes? (biggest is SW130) I have noticed in Stellarium it's in the sky quite a lot and I have pointed my scope in that direction but didn't see anything. That was before I had a goto and I must admit, it felt like i was looking for a rather small needle in a very large haystack.  I came to the conclusion my scope wasn't powerful enough. (you know how it is, blame the tools etc. etc. :icon_biggrin::icon_biggrin: ) 

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Both Uranus and Neptune will be visible in a 130 scope, although I doubt they will show much of a disc. It will be a case of using Stellarium to identify which point of light is the planet. Goto makes the whole process easier, but you will still need to identify it in the fov.

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I'm going to have to be very self-disciplined an not point my scope in that direction at night until I have seen the others first. :icon_biggrin:

The way I understand what is visible (and not) is the magnitude given in Stellarium. If it's over 5/6 I don't even bother trying. That's the limit I've set myself until I figure it out. 
Let's say we have an absolutely crystal clear night, no clouds, no twinkling. (yeah I know, wishful thinking or what!) 
What could I realistically expect with my scopes, magnitude wise - or am I judging it wrong?

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Norton gives a limiting magnitude for a 5" scope as 13.2 - that's the theoretical maximum in perfect conditions. Uranus is just about naked eye visibility at around 6 and Neptune is a couple of magnitudes fainter at about 8. You should be able to see both in a decent pair of binoculars, but as I have said, the difficulty is identifying them.

You may or may not be aware that Galileo recorded Neptune in his notebooks, although he didn't work out what it was. However, he clearly knew it was something special, because that asterisk (he used those to record "stars") is circled in the drawing. If he could manage it with his telescope (despite the lesser light pollution), I'm sure your 130 will manage it!

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