Mars / Regulus color contrast: Go look!

Apr 8

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4/8/2012 9:30 PM  RssIcon

Mars is very near Regulus in the sky right now - all of about 5 degrees from each other.  Just look to the south around 10 or 11 pm or so, high up in the sky (lower in far northern latitudes).  The color contrast is stunning.  This picture really doesn't do it justice.  Now remember, most colors in the night sky are subtle; they won't win any fashion contest color awards or anything.  But Mars really does look orange.  And Regulus, by comparison, has a bluish tint to it, as it should given it's Type B spectral classification.

So check out these two objects this week, if you get the chance.  Mars will be moving away from the star's position starting this week, though not noticeably until next week.  So look soon, while they are close enough to really compare their colors.  It's a fascinating difference, and a contrast not often obvious in the night sky.

By the way, I took this picture with my smartphone.  No telescope, no other optical aid.  I'm surprised I got anything at all, and I couldn't see Regulus on the smartphone screen when I shot it.  It was only after I did some significant contrast and brightness boosting in Photoshop was I able to see the star next to the planet.  And the photo doesn't do the pair justice, so seriously - go see this pair for yourself.  Wishing you clear and dark skies!

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The Nightlight

This blog includes what to see in the night and daytime skies, thoughts on telescopes, binoculars, and other astronomy observing accessories and equipment, plus my own occasional notes on objects I've seen and observed. Oh, and the random theater or other "my take on life" post. In other words, there is always something interesting. Check it out.