Download e-book The Observers Guide to Planetary Motion: Explaining the Cycles of the Night Sky

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Editorial Reviews. Review. From the book reviews: “This concise little primer takes a The Observer's Guide to Planetary Motion: Explaining the Cycles of the Night Sky (The Patrick Moore Practical Astronomy Series) - Kindle edition by Dominic Ford. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or .
Table of contents

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Seeing them from the Earth's surface is difficult, because of sunlight scattered in Earth's atmosphere, but observers in space can see them easily if direct sunlight is blocked from reaching the observer's eyes. The planets' phases are "new" when they are at inferior conjunction, passing more or less between the Sun and the Earth. Sometimes they appear to cross the solar disk, which is called a transit of the planet.


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At intermediate points on their orbits, these planets exhibit the full range of crescent and gibbous phases. The superior planets, orbiting outside the Earth's orbit, do not exhibit the full range of phases as they appear almost always as gibbous or full. However, Mars often appears significantly gibbous, when it is illuminated by the Sun at a very different angle than it is seen by an observer on Earth, so an observer on Mars would see the Sun and the Earth widely separated in the sky. This effect is not easily noticeable for the giant planets , from Jupiter outward, since they are so far away that the Sun and the Earth, as seen from these outer planets, would appear to be in almost the same direction.


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    Periodically, objects become prominent in the night sky for a few weeks or months, while at other times they pass too close to the Sun to be observed. Uniquely each of the chapters includes extensive explanatory text, relating the events listed to the physical geometry of the Solar System.

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    Along the way, many questions are answered: Why does Mars take over two years between apparitions the times when it is visible from Earth in the night sky, while Uranus and Neptune take almost exactly a year? Events are listed for the time period and in the case of rarer events such as eclipses and apparitions of Mars even longer time periods are covered.

    Movements and Visibility Cycles of the Naked Eye Planets

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    FAQ Policy. About this book To the naked eye, the most evident defining feature of the planets is their motion across the night sky. Show all. That alone makes it a reference well worth having long after the basics have been mastered. Summing Up: Highly recommended.