Planet Data for Amateur Astronomers
Below you can select a planet (or the moon) and get a page worth of
information about the object, like size, mass, distance, angular size
when viewed, etc. I find it makes my viewing more enjoyable, knowing more
about the object I'm viewing. Incidentally, on this web page Pluto is
still considered a planet.
The Popularity of Planetary Viewing
The Amateur Astronomer Survey shows that planetary observing is one of the amateur astronomers'
favorite pastimes. I know it is certainly one of my favorite pastimes. I think
I enjoy observing planets because they are challenging, with each tantalizing
detail a morsel for which you must work hard. Also, planets present more
dynamic targets. For Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, the times you view deliver
different delectable details, such has moon positions for Jupiter and Saturn,
the Great Red Spot for Jupiter, Saturn's rings which vary in tilt, and the
fleeting details of the surface of Mars.
The following images, taken with modest sized amateur telescopes and
Celestron NexImage Solar System Imager. Movies of the
objects were taken and processed with imaging stacking software. The
amazing details obtained illustrate why planetary and lunar astronomy are
so compelling. When you see some of the details of the objects, it makes
the details you see or photograph seem even more amazing.
For example, doesn't this image of Mars whet your appetite? It was taken
in 2016 with a modest
Meade Instruments ETX90 Observer Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope in 2016, when
Mars had an apparent size of only 18 arc-seconds. Doesn't the image
beg questions about how big is Mars, how does it's gravity compare with
Earth's, and other facts? Click on Mars above and find out those facts
and many, many more.
Mars with ETX 90
Or, if that doesn't get your lunar/planetary curiosity aroused, how about
this view of Albategnius Crater, captured here with a Celestron
NexStar 5 SE Telescope. Much more detail than on the Mars image, right?
But what about the Moon? How big is it, does it have a magnetic field,
how far away is it? Click on the Moon above, and find out.
Albategnius Crater with Nexstar 5SE