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Old 16-06-2020, 01:51 PM
glend (Glen)
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Twin Oppositions Fast Approaching

Do people on this forum realise just how well placed we are for the forthcoming near simultaneous oppositions of Jupiter and Saturn? The east coast of Australia is possibly the best place in the world to view, image, Jupiter and Saturn at Opposition this year. Jupiter will be at Opposition on 14 July, and Saturn on the 21st of July. Just consider the rarity of the event in terms of orbital mechanics, with Jupiter, Saturn and the Earth all travelling at different speeds in their respective to be orbits. To have all three in this sort of opposition configuration is probably not something that will happen again in my lifetime. This tandem opposition event is not to be missed for keen planetary observers. Both of these wonderful planets are high in our night sky from near midnight, where the atmosphere is the thinnest to gaze through. Our poor cousins in the northern hemisphere have to struggle with low angle views.
Make the most of this momentous event.

Then, later this year, in December, we have a Great Conjunction, with Jupiter and Saturn. Great conjunctions occur regularly, every 19.6 years, due to the combined effect of Jupiter's approximately 11.86-year*orbital period*and Saturn's 29.5-year orbital period.



Last edited by glend; 16-06-2020 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 17-06-2020, 06:29 AM
N1 (Mirko)
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Looking forward to both!
Just out of curiosity - wouldn't any Great Conjunction be associated with near-simultaneous oppositions, and the closer to the conjunction the oppositions occur, the closer together they are between them? Must look into that...
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Old 17-06-2020, 11:06 AM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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Also looking forward to the conjunction though for those that are interested, the planets will only be about 15 deg. above the horizon as twilight is deepening. You will need a clear unobstructed view to the west and because the planets will be low they will not be good telescopic targets if you are expecting to see any surface detail.
Generally I would think that the conjunction would be great binocular or wide field telescope event or even just naked eye. Throw in the thin crescent moon on the 17th and it will be a fine sight and imaging opportunity.
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Old 17-06-2020, 11:36 AM
glend (Glen)
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Originally Posted by N1 View Post
Looking forward to both!
Just out of curiosity - wouldn't any Great Conjunction be associated with near-simultaneous oppositions, and the closer to the conjunction the oppositions occur, the closer together they are between them? Must look into that...
Mirko, a conjunction is normally labelled as such from Earth based observers viewpoint, it does not necessarily mean that Saturn and Jupiter are in alignment with any other viewpoint. If you look at a planetary position website like Planetstoday you can move ahead to see the relative motions.
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Old 17-06-2020, 11:40 AM
glend (Glen)
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Also looking forward to the conjunction though for those that are interested, the planets will only be about 15 deg. above the horizon as twilight is deepening. You will need a clear unobstructed view to the west and because the planets will be low they will not be good telescopic targets if you are expecting to see any surface detail.
Generally I would think that the conjunction would be great binocular or wide field telescope event or even just naked eye. Throw in the thin crescent moon on the 17th and it will be a fine sight and imaging opportunity.
Guess I better try to get to Mount Victoria in the Blue Mtns, where it drops away to the western plains. That would be a great spot to set up an image.
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Old 17-06-2020, 12:11 PM
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Yes looking forward to it. The other thing is the angle of Saturn's rings facing toward us will be the most it will be for quite a few years. And same with Mars opposition later in the year, will be the closest opposition till about 2033. Kind of why I thought it would be a good idea to buy a telescope. Would be good to be able to get Jupiter and Saturn in the same telescope view pic in December, but not sure if they will be close together enough?
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Old 17-06-2020, 02:04 PM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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On the 21st the planets will be 0.1 deg ,(6 arc mins) apart, will fit into a medium power field. If you can fit 1/2 the moons dia. into your FOV you will get both planets. For a few days either side of that date they will still be less than 30 arc mins apart.
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Old 05-10-2020, 03:19 PM
glend (Glen)
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The Challenge the Super Conjunction Viewers Face

As we were warned by Saturine below, the practicalities of viewing or imaging the Super Conjunction are not insignificant. I was having a look at Sky Safari today for info on when it might be best to view the Super Conjunction around 19-21 December; sadly because it is occurring during the Summer Soltice period, there is an enormous amount of daylight to contend with, and the two planets are not very far away from the Sun. It appeared that at sunset, at my latitude, the pair of Saturn and Jupiter will be very low in the western sky and obscured by trees. Given the long twilight period after actual sunset, there would appear to be no chance, certainly no chance to image the event, in darkness.
While there maybe a chance to observe the conjunction visually, during daylight when they are directly over head, the proximity of the Sun and the risk of sunlight flooding the scope is significant and thus dangerous. I have viewed daylight conjunctions before (Moon and Saturn for example) and the use of a red filter made it feasible (assuming you can Goto) the location precisely, but this one may be impossible here.
I encourage anyone thinking of attempting observing or imaging, to do your research now, find out how your location is going to be impacted by the position of the planet's, and the Sun.

Anyone with suggestions is welcome to provide advice.
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Old 06-10-2020, 07:54 PM
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Yes, it is disappointing that Jupiter and Saturn will be fast approaching the horizon as twilight fades.
Down here, south of Hobart, I am further west which helps. But the further south one is the longer the twilight. Looking at SkySafari, I suspect I am no better positioned than yourself.
I am not going to try any imaging. Rather, I’ll take a portable rig to a vantage spot with a good west-south-westerly horizon and enjoy the view and experience as the two planets sink side-by-side in the fading twilight. It will be quite a sight and a lasting memory.
I think the closest approach for the conjunction is around midday on the 21st. It will present an ideal daylight viewing opportunity to witness the point of closest approach. This should be relatively straight forward. The Sun will be 30+degrees to the west - a manageable distance and moving away from where a telescope is pointed should tracking fail. Jupiter with it’s bands will be easy to spot, but Saturn will be quite difficult at mag +0.6. I have viewed Saturn in broad daylight at around this magnitude a number of times - this time it should be easier to find given it’s proximity to Jupiter in the same FOV.
The day also presents an opportunity to view four naked eye planets in broad daylight. Venus is well separated from the Sun on the western side. Mars will be a wonderful reddish beacon against the blue sky and well positioned high in the sky late afternoon. Unfortunately, Mercury is far to close to the Sun near Superior Conjunction and out of reach.
Plus there is a 6 day old waxing crescent Moon to bag.




Quote:
Originally Posted by glend View Post
As we were warned by Saturine below, the practicalities of viewing or imaging the Super Conjunction are not insignificant. I was having a look at Sky Safari today for info on when it might be best to view the Super Conjunction around 19-21 December; sadly because it is occurring during the Summer Soltice period, there is an enormous amount of daylight to contend with, and the two planets are not very far away from the Sun. It appeared that at sunset, at my latitude, the pair of Saturn and Jupiter will be very low in the western sky and obscured by trees. Given the long twilight period after actual sunset, there would appear to be no chance, certainly no chance to image the event, in darkness.
While there maybe a chance to observe the conjunction visually, during daylight when they are directly over head, the proximity of the Sun and the risk of sunlight flooding the scope is significant and thus dangerous. I have viewed daylight conjunctions before (Moon and Saturn for example) and the use of a red filter made it feasible (assuming you can Goto) the location precisely, but this one may be impossible here.
I encourage anyone thinking of attempting observing or imaging, to do your research now, find out how your location is going to be impacted by the position of the planet's, and the Sun.

Anyone with suggestions is welcome to provide advice.
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Old 21-10-2020, 08:38 AM
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Any suggested sites in SE Qld for this event. Iíve got one that is up near Theodore about 600 km away - very dark skies, very clear west horizon and elevated position. But itís a long haul. Got a better one?
Peter
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Old 21-10-2020, 04:58 PM
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Any suggested sites in SE Qld for this event. Iíve got one that is up near Theodore about 600 km away - very dark skies, very clear west horizon and elevated position. But itís a long haul. Got a better one?
Peter
Can't you find a dark area on the east side of Bribie Island?
Maybe Bribie isn't as remote as I remember it 60 years ago.

But don't forget the Orionid display - early morning on the 22nd, and all night on the same day, Thursday.
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Old 21-10-2020, 05:47 PM
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Can't you find a dark area on the east side of Bribie Island?
Maybe Bribie isn't as remote as I remember it 60 years ago.

But don't forget the Orionid display - early morning on the 22nd, and all night on the same day, Thursday.
The western horizon on Bribieís east coast is a mixture of lights, trees, and all the other things on Bribie including salty sea air and .... the list goes on. I want an elevated western view of a clear horizon with no light pollution, salt air or any of the other things that militate against any decent imaging.
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Old 24-10-2020, 02:13 PM
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Maleny?
That is cool at night and not too far.
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Old 24-10-2020, 03:44 PM
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Maleny?
That is cool at night and not too far.
Yes, worth a look.
P.

Edit. Had a look yesterday at both Mt. Mee and Malaney. Neither has any decent site I could access. Apart from pulling up on the side of the road and setting up on a footpath, there was a real shortage of lookout sites that looked out to the west rather than to the ocean. Understandable I suppose. And where there were any reasonably long horizons, they were looking the wrong way. So for my money, those sites are out. Pity. I'll have to cross the Great Divide to find the answer I think.

Last edited by pmrid; 27-10-2020 at 05:21 AM.
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Old 27-10-2020, 07:43 PM
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My friend in Maleny suggests :

Howells Knob Lookout, 3 or so km west of Maleny. You drive to the top to a picnic spot.

Apparently has views all round. He will let me know if anything else out there sounds suitable.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pmrid View Post
Yes, worth a look.
P.

Edit. Had a look yesterday at both Mt. Mee and Malaney. Neither has any decent site I could access. Apart from pulling up on the side of the road and setting up on a footpath, there was a real shortage of lookout sites that looked out to the west rather than to the ocean. Understandable I suppose. And where there were any reasonably long horizons, they were looking the wrong way. So for my money, those sites are out. Pity. I'll have to cross the Great Divide to find the answer I think.
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Old 28-10-2020, 03:17 AM
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That's one up for local knowledge! It looks good enough on Google Maps to warrant another trip up the mountain.

I've been worrying over the SkySafari projections for those few days and it'll be a tricky business to image. The long twilight will be the problem of course. It seems that by the time there is sufficient dark for imaging, the planets will be so low in the west that image quality will be compromised by atmospheric distortions and horizon haze. It'll be touch and go and even a small shrub in the wrong place could present a major obstacle.

Still, the result will be worth the effort if I can get it.

Please thank your friend, Ray and allow me to thank you also.

Peter
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Old 28-10-2020, 08:39 PM
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You are welcome and I hope it works out . I have passed on your thanks.

Maleny is a place seemingly full of people making interesting things and playing instruments. Must be some telescope makers up there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmrid View Post
That's one up for local knowledge! It looks good enough on Google Maps to warrant another trip up the mountain.

I've been worrying over the SkySafari projections for those few days and it'll be a tricky business to image. The long twilight will be the problem of course. It seems that by the time there is sufficient dark for imaging, the planets will be so low in the west that image quality will be compromised by atmospheric distortions and horizon haze. It'll be touch and go and even a small shrub in the wrong place could present a major obstacle.

Still, the result will be worth the effort if I can get it.

Please thank your friend, Ray and allow me to thank you also.

Peter
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Old 31-10-2020, 12:05 PM
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Well, sorry to say, but no go. Great views in every direction but W/SW. Along that side, trees have been allowed to grow to a good height. The view we want is about 245 degrees. Blow!
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Old 31-10-2020, 06:08 PM
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Shame about the trees. Sorry about that.

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Well, sorry to say, but no go. Great views in every direction but W/SW. Along that side, trees have been allowed to grow to a good height. The view we want is about 245 degrees. Blow!
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:52 PM
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Just for the heck of it, I thought I might share with you the best horizon I have found so far - for the purpose of the December conjunction. This is a distant, flat, uncluttered horizon in an area with excellent dark skies. It just happens to be a 600km drive from where I live. Hmmm!

Peter
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