Can we discover Mars right now? Everybody, please look all around the night sky, and let’s see how many orange-red points of light we can find.
Please let me know when you have found an orange to red point of light, so we can point it out to everybody.
Turn up reading lights partially; when people find something let them show it with portable pointers. Keep asking until Mars and two other orange-red objects are found.
DIGITAL EFFECT: Find the Planet
Begin the “Find the Planet Activity.” Turn on colored locator arrows attached to Mars (yellow arrows), Betelgeuse (green arrows), and Aldebaran (blue arrows).
We now have three candidates, orange to red points of light that might be Mars. One of them has been designated by every society on Earth as being special. Mars, we call it. But which one of these is Mars?
Is one of these different from the rest? How?
[Someone may mention the idea that stars twinkle, but planets have a steady glow. This is not always true; it depends on atmospheric conditions. Even under good seeing conditions, it is often difficult for novice observers to perceive the difference between stars and planets.]
Each of these reddish points of light may have some unique quality, but we need an overwhelming difference. They are different through a telescope, but the ancients didn’t have telescopes and they still knew which one was Mars.