Long night of the planets

Object of the week_2022-44

A long night of the planets

This time there are five objects, as all five outer planets are currently visible in the night sky.

It all starts at dusk with the Saturn.
However, the beautiful ringed planet will soon set in the constellation Capricorn in the southwest.

It is the second largest planet in our solar system

Although the other gas planets also have ring systems, his is the most conspicuous and is easily visible from Earth with a telescope. It consists mainly of chunks of water ice and rock

This ring system is astonishing, as it is only about 10 to 100 meters (!) thick with a diameter of about one million kilometers.

Probes have discovered more than 100,000 individual rings with different compositions and colors.

The rings become practically invisible every 15 years, as Saturn is in the so-called "edge-on position". The next time will be in 2024

And Saturn has another special feature: its average density is the lowest of all planets and lower than that of liquid water, only 0.687 g/cm³. 


Shines much higher and much brighter Jupiter in the area of the constellations Pisces, Whale and Aquarius, which is the preferred observation object of the first half of the night. You will see the 4 large Gallilean mandes and if the seeing conditions are good, you will be able to recognize the cloud bands

A little to the west of Jupiter is the Neptuneand is also an object of the first half of the night. The outermost planet is therefore also the faintest and can only be seen as a tiny disc in the large telescope.

High in the southeastern sky in the constellation Taurus, the reddish Mars the only rocky planet of the 5 outer planets. It can be seen almost all night long and almost rivals Jupiter in terms of brightness. Its apparent diameter increases to just over 17 arc seconds and soon reaches its opposition position

Between Jupiter and Mars you will find the Uranus. At opposition, it could be seen with the naked eye with a magnitude of 5.6 under the most favorable conditions. It can be observed throughout the night. In the large telescope it can be seen as a very small disk.

We hope that the skies will be clear next Friday (4.11.).