MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: Can a telescope or device see planets through clouds

Date: Wed Sep 15 14:00:42 1999
Posted By: Jeff Robertson, Faculty, Physical Sciences, Arkansas Tech University
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 933274899.As

The planets can easily be tracked during the day.

Jupiter and Venus can be seen during the
day also, but never through the clouds, no matter what kind
of detector you build. 
Clouds are very good UV,VIS,IR absorbers.

To find them visually obtain their Right Ascension coordinates
for the specific date.  Obtain the same for the sun, using:

If their RA is > that of the sun they will be farther East in the sky.
If their RA is < that of the sun they will be farther West in the sky.

Any telescope can be set to the sun, and then moved in RA to the
position of the planet.  Once the telescope is pointed to 
the correct area of the sky, you can look for it
without any visual aid.  BUT try and find it without getting 
some pointing direction first is nearly impossible.

[Moderator's note: the only way I can think of to "see" planets through
clouds is with radio waves. But most planets don't emit very much
in the radio (with the exception of Jupiter), and I don't think a
backyard-type dish would be sensitive enough to detect them.]

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