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 Mars Rise, Transit and Set Times for 2007

The following table lists the rising, transiting and setting times of Mars for a variety of latitudes from August to December 2007 (rising, transiting and setting times for the period from January to May 2008 can be seen here).

To find the appropriate times for any given location, the procedure is as follows:

Examples of how to determine the rise, transit and set times of Mars using this procedure are given after the Rise/transit/set direction table.

Rise/Transit/Set Times Table

 

The table is colour-coded to reflect the sky conditions at the displayed time in each latitude:

 

 

light blue

 

The event occurs in daylight (Sun above horizon) - the planet will not be visible

 

shades of blue

 

The event occurs in astronomical twilight (Sun less than 18 below the horizon) - the planet may or may not be visible depending upon its current apparent magnitude and the local sky brightness

 

black

 

The event occurs in darkness (Sun more than 18 below the horizon) - the planet is easily visible

 

 

Rise, transit and set times of the planet Mars from mid-August to late December 2007, listed in 24-hour clock format at 7 or 8 day intervals. All times shown are Local Mean Time; if your country operates Daylight Savings Time (DST) during the summer months, ADD ONE HOUR to the times shown on the appropriate dates. The times given refer specifically to the central longitude of any given time zone (i.e. the time zone meridian); hence for any location along these latitudes, the times will be accurate to within plus or minus () 30 minutes. For higher accuracy (to within about 4 minutes), refer to the page Finding the Local Standard Time (LST) from the Local Mean Time (LMT). Observers in the USA, Canada and Europe should refer to the notes (* and ) below regarding DST; observers in Southern Australia (latitude 35 South) should refer to the note () below regarding DST. All the above times were obtained from the commercial software 'Redshift 5'.

NOTES

Rise and Set Times

- (negative sign): time refers to the previous day

+ (plus sign): time refers to the following day

 Meridian Transit Column

* DST applies in the USA and parts of Canada throughout this period; in European Union (EU) countries, DST applies through to Oct 28th 2007 (DST is referred to as BST [British Summer Time] in the UK). To obtain DST, ADD ONE HOUR to the transit times, and to the rise and set times of the appropriate latitude.

 DST applies in the USA and parts of Canada through to Nov 4th 2007; to obtain DST, ADD ONE HOUR to the transit times, and to the rise and set times of the appropriate latitude.

DST applies in Southern and Western Australia from Oct 28th 2007. To obtain DST, ADD ONE HOUR to the transit, rise and set times.

Provided the sky is sufficiently dark, it is recommended that the observer waits about 30 minutes after the planet's rising time to allow the planet to reach a high enough altitude to clear the haze, turbulence and light pollution which is prevalent near the horizon - the latter being a particular problem in city and town locations. Likewise when setting, the observer should attempt to find the planet at least 30 minutes before its actual setting time. Be aware that, due to local sky conditions and an effect called atmospheric extinction (which causes celestial bodies to appear dimmer when they are close to the horizon), a planet or constellation may not be visible at all unless it is at least a few degrees above the horizon.

If Mars is some months away from opposition when it is observed, its coloration may not be immediately obvious to the naked eye; in which case, a pair of binoculars will help to reveal its trademark orange coloration.

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Rise/Transit/Set Directions Table

The directions in which Mars rises, transits and sets depends upon the constellation in which Mars appears at the time, and also on the observer's latitude. To find the rising/transiting/setting direction of Mars for your own location, refer to the following table and look up the directions for the nearest appropriate latitude:

 

Latitude

Date

Rise/Set Direction

Meridian Transit

Altitude

Direction

2007

Rise

Set

60 North

Aug 11 to Nov 04:

NE

NW

51 2

due South

Nov 05 to Dec 31:

NNE

NNW

55 1

50 North

Aug 11 to Aug 18:

ENE

WNW

59

due South

Aug 19 to Dec 31:

NE

NW

63 2

40 North

Aug 11 to Nov 22:

ENE

WNW

71 3

due South

Nov 23 to Dec 31:

NE

NW

75 1

30 North

Aug 11 to Dec 31:

ENE

WNW

82 3

due South

20 North

Aug 11 to Dec 31:

ENE

WNW

86 3

due North

0 (Equator)

Aug 11 to Dec 31:

ENE

WNW

66 3

due North

15 South

Aug 11 to Dec 31:

ENE

WNW

51 3

due North

25 South

Aug 11 to Dec 31:

ENE

WNW

41 3

due North

35 South

Aug 11 to Dec 31:

ENE

WNW

31 3

due North

Rise, transit and set directions of Mars during 2007 for a variety of latitudes. The Meridian Transit Altitude is the angular altitude of the planet when on the observer's meridian. When a celestial body crosses the observer's meridian (known as the meridian transit or culmination), it has reached its greatest angular altitude in the sky. Hence at latitude 40 North on Sep 25th 2007, Mars rose in the ENE, transited the meridian (crossed the due South point) at its highest altitude of about 71 (i.e. about three-quarters of the way up the sky) and set in the WNW.

Angular altitude (or elevation) is measured as 0 at the horizon (i.e. when an object is at the point of rising or setting), 45 when 'half way up the sky' and 90 when directly above the observer's head (a point known as the zenith). In the above picture, the bright star has an altitude of about 60 (i.e. it is "60 high"). Refer to the table on the left to find the maximum altitude which Mars reached from your own latitude in 2007.

We will demonstrate the above procedure with two examples - one for the Northern hemisphere and one for the Southern:

Example 1: Northern Hemisphere

My observing location is Austin, Texas (USA). At what time and in which direction will Mars rise, transit and set on October 25th, 2007?

> Austin is located at geographical latitude 30 20' North, 97 45' West. The nearest whole degree values are longitude 30 North (rounded down) and 98 West (rounded up); hence we will need to use the Latitude 30 North column in the Rise/transit/set times table.

Looking down the Date column, we see that, on October 25th 2007, Mars transits the meridian at 04:29 Local Mean Time, rises at 21:28 LMT (on the previous day) and sets at 11:30 LMT. Referring to the suffix notes (*) we see that DST applies in the USA during this time, so we must ADD ONE HOUR to our times to obtain our actual clock times. Hence the times now become 05:29 DST (transit), 22:28 DST (rise) and 12:30 DST (set). We can also see from the table that on October 25thMars rises in darkness (black background), transits in darkness and sets in daylight (light blue background).

We have determined that Mars transits the meridian at 05:29 DST. Now, this is the time at which Mars would appear on the meridian when seen from the central longitude of Austin's Time Zone (in this case, the Central Standard Time Zone, which is 6 hours behind GMT). The central longitude of the Central Standard Time Zone is (6 hours x 15) = 90 West. The longitude of Austin itself (98 West) is 8 further West than its central Time Zone longitude (90 West). Referring to the page Finding the Local Standard Time (LST) from the Local Mean Time (LMT), we see that we must ADD FOUR MINUTES for each degree of longitude that we are positioned West of the central longitude. So we must add (8 x 4 minutes) = 32 minutes to all of the times we have noted down. Hence the local times of events at Austin are:

Mars Rises: 23:00 DST

Mars Transits: 06:01 DST

Mars Sets: 13:02 DST

Having determined these times, we now need to know the directions in which we need to look to spot the planet at these times (in practice, we should wait about 30 minutes after the rising time - or observe at least 30 minutes before the setting time - to ensure that the planet is high enough to be visible). To find the directions, we refer to the Rise/transit/set direction table. We see that, at 30 North Latitude on October 25th, Mars rises in the ENE (East North-east) and sets in the WNW (West North-west). It transits the meridian due South, at an angular altitude of 82 3 (i.e. between 79 and 85 degrees high).

Hence from Austin, Texas on October 25th 2007, we will see Mars rise in the ENE at 23:00 DST, cross the meridian (due South) seven hours later at 06:01 DST (at an altitude of about 82) and set in the WNW a further seven hours later at 13:02 DST (by which time the Sun will be high in the sky).

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Example 2: Southern Hemisphere

My observing location is Melbourne, Victoria (Australia). At what time and in which direction will Mars rise, transit and set on December 15th, 2007?

> Melbourne is located at geographical latitude 37 40' South, 145 0' East. In this case we will need to use the Latitude 35 South (Southern Australia) column in the Rise/transit/set times table. The longitude is precisely 145, so no rounding up or down is necessary.

Looking down the Date column, we see that there is no entry for December 15th 2007, but we can estimate the times on December 15th by interpolating the times given on the dates on either side, i.e. December 9th and December 16th. There are (16 - 9) = 7 days between these two dates, during which interval the transit time of Mars changes from 01:28 (Local Mean Time) on December 9th to 00:49 (LMT) on December 16th, i.e. it transits earlier by (01:28 - 00:49) = 39 minutes in the space of 7 days, or about (39 minutes / 7 days) = 5.5 minutes per day (which we will round down to 5 minutes). Since there is only one day's difference between the listed date (December 16th) and our required observation date (December 15th) and we know that the transit times are getting earlier each day, we need to add 5 minutes to the transit time on the later date (December 16th) to get a transit time of (00:49 + 00:05) = 00:54 (LMT) on December 15th [Alternatively, we could have deducted (5.5 minutes x 6 days) = 33 minutes from the transit time on December 9th, which would have given us (01:28 - 00:33) = 00:55 (LMT). Either method of determining the time is acceptable; the difference of just one minute between the two methods is - for this purpose - negligible].

The method should now be repeated (by interpolation) for the rising and setting times of Mars (under the Latitude 35 South column). However, in most cases, the daily change of rise, transit and set times (i.e. minutes per day) will be roughly the same across all three events. Hence in this instance (and to make calculations easier) we can assume that the rising and setting times of Mars will also change by about 5 minutes per day. Hence, taking the rise and set times on December 16th as our basis, the rising time on December 15th is then (20:08 + 00:05) = 20:13 (LMT) and the setting time is (05:30 + 00:05) = 05:35 (LMT).

We now refer to the suffix notes () and we see that DST applies in Southern Australia during this time, so we must ADD ONE HOUR to our times to obtain our actual clock times. Hence the times now become 01:55 DST (transit), 21:13 DST (rise) and 06:35 DST (set). We can also see from the table that on December 16th - just one day ahead of our required observing date - Mars rises in twilight (dark blue background), transits in darkness and sets in daylight (light blue background). Since twilight is encroaching on the planet's visibility when rising on December 16th, we can assume it will already be having some effect on the planet's visibility when rising on our required date, which is just one day earlier.

We have determined that Mars transits the meridian at 01:55 DST. Now, this is the time at which Mars would appear on the meridian when seen from the central longitude of Melbourne's Time Zone (in this case, the Australian Eastern Standard Time Zone, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT). The central longitude of the Australian Eastern Standard Time Zone is (10 hours x 15) = 150 East. The longitude of Melbourne itself (145 East) is 5 to the West of its central Time Zone longitude (150 East). Referring to the page Finding the Local Standard Time (LST) from the Local Mean Time (LMT), we see that we must ADD FOUR MINUTES for each degree of longitude that we are positioned West of the central longitude. So we must add (5 x 4 minutes) = 20 minutes to all of the times we have noted down. Hence the local times of events at Melbourne are:

Mars Rises: 21:33 DST

Mars Transits: 02:15 DST

Mars Sets: 06:55 DST

Now we need to know the directions in which we need to look to look for the planet at these times (in practice, we should wait about 30 minutes after the rising time - or observe at least 30 minutes before the setting time - to ensure that the planet is high enough to be visible). To find the directions, we refer to the Rise/transit/set direction table. We see that, at 35 South latitude on December 15th, Mars rises in the ENE (East North-east) and sets in the WNW (West North-west). It transits the meridian due North, at an angular altitude of 63 3 (i.e. between 60 and 66 degrees high).

Hence from Melbourne, Australia on December 15th, we will see Mars rise in twilight in the ENE at 21:33 DST, cross the meridian (due North) just under five hours later at 02:15 DST (at an altitude of about 63) and set in the WNW a further five hours later at 06:55 DST (by which time the Sun will have risen).

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The Apparition of Mars 2007-8

The Naked-eye appearance of Mars

Planetary Movements through the Zodiac


Credits


Copyright  Martin J Powell  November 2006