# Help me understand, planets and altitudes.

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Current situation. At home in the UK where I live at UTC 19:00 mars is at an altitude of 40'.

I am currently away in Cyprus, mars is at an altitude of 16' at UTC 19:00. So the same time.

I thought the further south you went the planet's would be higher in the sky?  Am I wrong or is the the vodka that has made my brain not work

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Posted (edited)

Think about it logically. If you're at the north or south pole the corresponding polar points will be at zenith (90 degrees). The further toward the equator you go they will sink further and further lower in the sky. Same applies to a fixed point in space.

Edited by Elp
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Your longitude also has an impact on where things appear and when. Cyprus is at least 30° further East than the UK, so the same object will culminate about two hours earlier out there in Cyprus. So, at 19:00 UTC, Mars is significantly closer to setting in the West for you out there than it is for us here in the UK, hence at the same time UTC it is lower in your sky. If that makes any sense. When it culminated it would have been higher in altitude in Cyprus than in the UK.

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Two things happen here.

First you set the time fixed - and this requires you to examine time zone and longitude.

If it is noon in England - it will be sunrise in New York. Sun will be seen in different position in the sky at the same time. If you want to compare "apples to apples" in this case - you need to ask - where the Sun will be as it is transiting meridian in local time frame - meaning in both noon at England and in New York.

Second thing is moving in latitude - or south / north position. Once you set specific transit time - then you can say at what altitude will transit happen, or when the planet is highest in the sky - how high it will reach depending on where you are located north or south.

In your particular case if Mars is at 40 degrees altitude at 19h UTC in UK - it will be in the same place at 16:48 UTC on Cyprus (I took that you are at 0 lat in UK, while Cyprus is 33 degrees east, so it leads by 2.2 hours).

Then if you are say at 53 degrees North in UK and Cyprus is at 35 degrees - at 16:48 UTC on Cyprus (which is GMT+3, so take that into account with local time) - Mars will be 40 + (53 - 35) = 58 degrees altitude.

For any other time - calculation complicates and it's best to use planetarium software to figure out where planet will be.

Here we go - at 19:48 local time Mars is said to be at 45 degrees (so a bit lower than we calculated - but it's setting fast, at 19:05 was at 53 degrees altitude).

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20 hours ago, Chefgage said:

Current situation. At home in the UK where I live at UTC 19:00 mars is at an altitude of 40'.

I am currently away in Cyprus, mars is at an altitude of 16' at UTC 19:00. So the same time.

I thought the further south you went the planet's would be higher in the sky?  Am I wrong or is the the vodka that has made my brain not work

Why would you use UTC instead of local time?  If you had used 19:00 local time (assuming both consistently use Standard or DST/Summer Time), then Mars would have indeed been much higher in Cyprus.

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I use UTC on my mounts because then you don't have to worry when the clocks change.

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19 hours ago, vlaiv said:

(I took that you are at 0 lat in UK,

You're losing your touch there @vlaiv 😁.

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5 minutes ago, Franklin said:

You're losing your touch there @vlaiv 😁.

Is that why it's a bit hotter than usual here in the UK today?

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35 minutes ago, Franklin said:

You're losing your touch there @vlaiv 😁.

I meant longitude , but yes, it's summer time when the living's easy

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Posted (edited)
On 09/06/2023 at 14:04, Chefgage said:

I am currently away in Cyprus, mars is at an altitude of 16' at UTC 19:00. So the same time.

Yes, but not the same local time.  That was my point about being a slave to UTC when comparing the local views at the same time.  Taken to the extreme, you might be asking why is it so bright out when it's UTC 00:00 (midnight Greenwich) in New Zealand.  It's the same time, so the sky should be the same, right?

Edited by Louis D
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On 12/06/2023 at 15:19, Louis D said:

Yes, but not the same local time.  That was my point about being a slave to UTC when comparing the local views at the same time.  Taken to the extreme, you might be asking why is it so bright out when it's UTC 00:00 (midnight Greenwich) in New Zealand.  It's the same time, so the sky should be the same, right?

Thanks. Having re-read what I posted I was indeed confused (I am going with the amount of vodka drank:) )

UTC time has its place but not with what I was asking. Thank you for making understand.

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Thank you all for taking time to respond. I understand it now.

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3 hours ago, Chefgage said:

Thanks. Having re-read what I posted I was indeed confused (I am going with the amount of vodka drank:) )

Been there, except with tequila.

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11 minutes ago, Louis D said:

Been there, except with tequila.

Ah, my favorite "happy" drink.

I start of with 5-6 shots of it to get me in the mood and then, after all that lemon and salt - I continue sipping cold beer for the rest of the night

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15 hours ago, vlaiv said:

I start of with 5-6 shots of it to get me in the mood

5 or 6 shots to start? That is a major night out for me. I'd probably be on the floor! (Yes, I know - lightweight). These days anything more than 3 beers is a major bender.......

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