The Conjunction Junction…of Mars and Regulus

“Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?  Hooking up words and phrases and clauses!”

“Conjunction in Space, what’s your function?  I’m a cosmic rendezvous in which two celestial objects appear to be close to each other even though we’re still hundreds of light years away.”

Looking up into the night sky over the next few evening will provide a splendid treat for those interested in somewhat rare space happenings.  From now until June 10, Mars and Regulus appear to be on a collision course (in actuality Regulus is 77 light years away from Mars).  As Mars approaches Regulus, they will appear closer and closer until Mars passes and moves away from its celestial neighbor.

After just getting in from a dewy, yet clear night (the first nice one in quite some time) I took some observations of Mars and Regulus.  Currently, they are about 4 to 5 degrees apart.  I Measured this by clenching my fist and holding it out, this is roughly ten degrees of distance.  Each night should bring the two objects noticeably closer, until they reach their closest point on June 6.

Here is a diagram from Stellarium of what I saw tonight!

I guess School House Rock can explain anything!
Now, if only I were allowed to produce their next video, imagine the possibilities.

Special Note-While viewing a galaxy tonight at 48X magnification, I witnessed a satellite travel through my field of view followed by another no more than 10 seconds later traveling in the exact opposite direction.
Very strange and surprising!

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7 thoughts on “The Conjunction Junction…of Mars and Regulus

  1. You forgot to say you saw an airplane, too! How cool! I definitely think you should write the School House Rock for Astronomy. Kids would be singing it left and right!!

  2. Sean McManus

    I took the time to admire, Mars and Regulus last night as well… I came out late after watching my favorite TV show and man did I miss some transparent skies. Finally really noticed the light domes that plague my view from the house.

    Since observing with my telescope, I have come to realize how littered our space really is. I’ve always noticed with the naked eye, sats in orbit. but Geez-Louise. Looking through the finder (9×50… a 5deg FOV) and wide angle views though the 38mm Q70 (2.2 deg FOV) … Man there is a lot of stuff up there, floating around.

    Conjunction, junction…LOL.

  3. I didn’t realize that the XT8 finder scope has a 5 degree FOV. That will help me with Mars and Regulus, if I get to go back out tonight. How do you like the 38mm Q70? I’m considering getting a wide field 2 in. eye piece as my next buy. Is there much star distortion towards the edges?

    Also, do you have an eyepiece solely for planetary observations? I’m looking at the Orion 5mm Edge-On Planetary eye piece as a possibility. I’m not sure if the telescope and seeing conditions would work well over 240X magnification.

    1. Sean McManus

      I really like the 38mm (man it a lot of glass)… I’ve only had it out a couple of nights now. So take that with a grain of salt. But if there was something funky, I think I would have noticed. CN people say not to be used on fast focal lengths, but I think it is a descent fit and I can’t wait to just scan though Cass, Cyg and Oph (2.2deg FOV)… Next decent session I will look some where with a descent amount of stars and try to concentrate on the edges, but I would say it is a pretty good fit in our scope.

      I have the 5mm Edge On. Ya, on most nights it is a bit much, but I use it any way. 😀 The forum always raves about the Universtiy Optics Orthos… I wonder if a good barlow, or 8mm Baader Hyperion with 14mm and 28 tuning rings would be the trick. Before my recent purchases of some small scopes (the deal was just too good) I was thinking of getting Hyperion 17 and 8 with the tuning rings.

      The 17 would be 71x,
      17 w/ 14mTR it would be 92x
      17 w/28mmTR=111x
      17 w/ both rings 130X

      8mm would be 150x
      w/14 would be 200x
      w/28 would be 240x
      w/both would be 279x

      They cost 119… the rings are $12 and $13. I really was missing the intermediate mags… so I was going to go that route… If I had to do it over I think Instead of the 9mm expanse and 5mm edge on I would purchase the above 8mm for planetary ( I figure it would allow you to see hey I want a 6mm and you have that ability to go to 4.3mmEP with the 28+14 TR. They also have threaded at the eyepiece end so using you video camera on them might be a breeze with the correct adapter rings… I’ve been thinking about them a lot. CNers would probably be better to ask.

      You would get two Orthos for the price of one of the Hyperions and tuning rings, though. I don’t think you could go wrong with either. But I wonder about looking through peep holes at the higher mag ones, which you wouldn’t have to worry about on the hyperions.

      I can’t remember which EPs you got? 10 and 25? Maybe a barlow and the 17mm w/TRs and your covered… with a descent spread of magnification views, leaving you with the want of wider. There are just too many options and too little money. 🙂

      The 5mm is really NICE on the moon and some really decent views of Saturn:D
      Good luck.

  4. Thanks for the info. I will probably be getting the 38mm before I buy a new eyepiece for planets. I really enjoy just scanning the sky and seeing what I run into.

    Good advice also on the planetary eyepieces, I’ll be sure to take a look at those selections before I make my purchase.

    I’m hoping that I will have a barlow or new eyepiece for my planetary observations when Jupiter comes into good view this summer. I haven’t been able to get up at 4:00am any so far to take a peak at it.

  5. Sean,
    I appreciate the link. Good quality for a reasonable price is definitely what I am looking for and this will help with finding that balance. Cloudy Nights is an incredible resource for all things astronomy and this is another great document to save to my astronomy folder on my PC.
    Have a good one,
    Michael

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