Mars And Its Two Companions
Taken by Jimmy Westlake on March 19, 2014 @ Stagecoach, Colorado, USA
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  Camera Used: IF if
Exposure Time: 538976288/538976288
Aperture: f/1.0
ISO: 6400
Date Taken: ORATION
 
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Mars and Its Two Companions.
No, not THOSE two companions. The OTHER two. This spring, Mars is looping through the stars of Virgo alongside the two large asteroids Ceres and Vesta. All three reach opposition in April: Mars on April 8, Vesta on April 13, and Ceres on April 15. In the attached image, ruddy Mars is shown rising beside icy-blue Spica. Vesta and Ceres are about two Mars-Spica distances off to Mars left. Vesta, the nearer and more reflective of the two, appears about a magnitude brighter than Ceres. Both are within easy grasp of binoculars. This is a 30-second tripod-mounted exposure taken at 10:17pm MDT on March 19, 2014 from Stagecoach, Colorado. I used a Nikon D700 at ISO 6400 and a 35mm Nikkor lens at f3.5 for the exposure. An image key is also attached.
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Jimmy,

Thank you very much for posting this photo! After seeing this I took my binoculars out 28th March and easily saw Vest and Ceres for the FIRST TIME!!! You inspired me and I felt 10 feet tall! Thank you. With a lifetime of astronomy under my belt, I somehow always seemed to miss looking for asteroids. I dont really know why, it just happened. Wow! They are easy and bright and move each night!

Anyone else? Its easy opposition time through April! Get an iPad, an app, and a pair of binoculars. Its easy.

Brian Whittaker
Posted by AstroPilot 2014-04-01 06:29:47
39 thumbs up
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