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Mars and Small Worlds

By: Tunc Tezel

 

Region: Middle East

Site: Mount Uludag - Turkey

Date: 2014 April 3

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The bright, ruddy object, is planet Mars, the Red Planet. Photographed here near its 2014 opposition (April 8) and closest approach to the Earth (April 14), looping through the constellation Virgo opposite the Sun.In this wide field view from Turkey Saturn is rising near the horizon and bright star Arcturus is at top left.
Click on the constellation icon above the image to see a closer view of Mars in Virgo at 2014 opposition, as seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day. Mars is outshining bluish Spica, alpha star of Virgo. There are two other solar system worlds approaching in this view. On the left, small and faint asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres are seen near star Tau Virginis. But you'll just have to imagine NASA's Dawn spacecraft cruising between the small worlds. Having left Vesta in September of 2012, Dawn's ion engine has been steadily driving it to match orbits with Ceres, scheduled to arrive there in February 2015. Tunc Tezel

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