English Conversation students at the Smith’s School of English in Kotoen スミス英会話 甲東園 have long known about my astronomy hobby. It has been in a temporary hiatus because, thanks to El Ninyo, the atmospheric conditions in Japan have been poor since 2012. Well, all that has finally changed with the general improvement evident since January.
Our third nearest neighbor in the cosmos will be at opposition on May 22nd, followed by a closest approach on May 29th. Anytime between May 10th and June 15th is a good time to view it, though it never rises more than 30 degrees above the horizon so it will always be shrouded in a murky atmosphere.
Have you noticed a bright orange beacon in the low southern sky around midnight? It’s Mars. You’ll need access to a telescope and eyepiece of very high optical quality on top of a night of perfect atmospheric transparency, meaning no wind, in order to make out surface features. The planet’s angular size of around 18.6 arc seconds and strong brightness are enough to make this possible, although upcoming oppositions in 2018 and 2020 will be better.
Smith’s School of English Kotoen 月謝制 Real Monthly Tuiton English Conversation School